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European shares cautious ahead of PMI data

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April 18 (Reuters) - European shares ticked lower in earlydeals on Thursday, as investors cautiously awaited manufacturingdata to gauge the health of euro zone economies ahead of theEaster holiday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX edged down 0.1percent by 0725 GMT, with all countries' bourses in the red.

European markets will remain closed on Friday and Monday forthe Easter holiday.

Purchasing Managers' Indexes (PMIs) for the manufacturingand service sectors in Europe are due at 0800 GMT.

This comes on the heels of the German government loweringits forecast for 2019 economic growth for the second time inthree months, reflecting a worsening slowdown driven by arecession in manufacturing.

Also due later in the day are retail sales data and flashPMIs from the United States.

Auto stocks .SXAP lost ground after a strong surge in theprevious session, while healthcare stocks .SXDP tumbledfollowing an overnight selloff at its U.S. peers on regulatoryconcerns.

Shares in Osram OSRn.DE was among the biggest percentagelosers on STOXX 600 after a German magazine reported thatprivate equity groups Bain CapitalBCSF.N and Carlyle GroupCG.O were losing confidence in their bid for the lightinggroup.

KeringPRTP.PA dropped 5.8 percent and weighed heavily onFrance's CAC 40 .FCHI and retail stocks .SXRP , even as theluxury goods conglomerate beat first-quarter revenue forecastson strong demand for Gucci's flamboyant designs and handbags.

Some traders pointed to an element of profit taking and aslower pace of growth at Gucci for the weakness in shares.

However, not all earnings were disappointing. The food andbeverage sector .SX3P gained the most among European sectors,lifted by upbeat earnings NestleNESN.S .

The food group's shares advanced after the companymaintained its full-year forecast after good momentum in theUnited States and China.

Shares of lab equipment maker Sartorius Stedim BiotechSTDM.PA was the top performer on STOXX 600 after it maintainedfull-year guidance as first-quarter revenue rose.

London shares of consumer goods giant Unilever ULVR.LUNc.AS gained 2 percent after it reported stronger thanexpected quarterly underlying sales growth, helped by increasedprices and volume.

Schneider ElectricSCHN.PA rose after the French company beat first-quarter revenue estimates.

French vouchers and card provider EdenredEDEN.PA rose 1.8percent after keeping its outlook for 2019 unchanged. RivalSodexo EXHO.PA gained 0.7 percent.

On the trade front, Washington and Beijing set a tentativetimeline for a fresh round of face-to-face meetings ahead of apossible signing ceremony in late May or early June, accordingto a Wall Street Journal report.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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