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Europe: Shares up on encouraging earnings, focus on US vote

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[LONDON] European shares edged higher in cautious trading ahead of Tuesday's US presidential election, with encouraging results and updates from some companies underpinning the broader market.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was trading 0.3 per cent higher in early trading, after surging 1.5 per cent in the previous session on improved chances of Hillary Clinton becoming the next US president.

Mrs Clinton's chances of winning got a boost on Sunday when the US Federal Bureau of Investigation said it stood by its July finding that the democratic candidate was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server. Mrs Clinton is seen as offering greater certainty and stability, and was ahead in five polls released on Monday.

Shares in Primark owner Associated British Foods surged 6.8 per cent, the top Stoxx 600 gainer, after the company said it expected profits to increase in the next fiscal year. It also added that earnings could ultimately benefit after Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

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However, ArcelorMittal fell 5 per cent after the world's largest producer of steel reported third-quarter core profit below expectations and said its final quarter would be weaker than the third.