January 15, 2020 / 8:20 AM / 3 days ago

European shares flat ahead of U.S.-China trade pact

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Jan 15 (Reuters) - European shares were flat on Wednesday ahead of the signing of an initial Sino-U.S. trade deal, as comments from the U.S. Treasury Secretary that tariffs on China would remain in place for now somewhat dimmed optimism.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.04% by 0805 GMT.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said tariffs on Chinese goods would remain until a second phase of a U.S.-China trade deal. His comments came hours before the signing of an agreement that seeks to ease prolonged trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The Phase 1 deal will lead to China buying more U.S. products, but does not tackle issues such as subsidies.

Healthcare was the best performing sector in the euro zone, led by a 2.8% rise in pharmaceuticals developer Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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