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European shares steady after Brexit-driven fall, Volvo jumps on Isuzu tie-up

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LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - European shares tried to stabilize on Wednesday as gains for Swedish truck maker Volvo and defensive sectors helped counter worries about a hard Brexit that continued to pressure UK mid-cap shares.

The pan-European STOXX 600 inched up 0.1% by 0821 GMT, hovering closer to a record high hit on Monday, encouraged by a decisive Conservative win in UK elections and a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal.

Shares in Swedish truck maker Volvo AB gained 4.7% after it and Japan’s Isuzu Motors agreed to form a strategic alliance in commercial vehicles that will include sale of Volvo’s subsidiary UD Trucks to Isuzu.

Defensive sectors such as healthcare, food & beverage and utilities led gains on the main STOXX 600 index.

However, domestically focused UK stocks fell 0.4% as worries about Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking a hard line on Brexit lingered. London’s exporter heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.2%, as pound erased all its gains made on the Tory victory. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar, editing by Julien Ponthus)