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Europe: Stocks inch higher in thin trading as miners advance

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[LONDON] European stocks edged higher amid thin trading as UK markets reopened after the holidays, while commodity producers climbed.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 per cent at 12:10pm in London, with shares changing hands about 45 per cent lower than the 30-day average. Lower-than-average trading volume can exacerbate price swings.

European markets were closed Monday, while the UK's stock market reopened after closing early last Friday. Stoxx 600 miners led gains today, rising the most in three weeks and offsetting declines in defensive sectors.

The FTSE 100 Index rose 0.5 per cent, briefly surpassing a record closing level last reached in April 2015, helped by the gains in commodity producers.

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The VStoxx Index of euro-area stock swings rose 3.3 per cent on Wednesday, poised for its longest advancing streak since November.

Anglo American Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. rose more than 4 per cent. Miners have been the top performers in the Stoxx 600 this year, up 62 per cent. Rallies in metal prices boosted the shares, and analysts predict more profit gains in 2017.

Strategists expect the Stoxx 600 to end 2017 at 366, 1.5 per cent higher than Tuesday's close, according to the average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

About 17 per cent of Stoxx 600 members are in overbought territory, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.