European shares edge lower ahead of Christmas holiday break

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(Reuters) – European shares dipped slightly on Monday after nearing a record high in the previous session, as trading thinned ahead of the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays later in the week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index () was down 0.1% at 0814 GMT, with the banking sector () leading declines.

An improving outlook on the global economy and optimism around a smoother Brexit had sent European equities to an all-time high last week, with the benchmark index logging its biggest weekly gain in two months.

But with an initial U.S.-China trade deal unlikely to be signed this year, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s willingness to take a hard line on future Brexit negotiations, analysts said stocks had little reason to move much from current levels.

A 3% decline for Italian infrastructure group Atlantia (MI:) pressured the wider country index ().

On Saturday, a report said the Italian government had provisionally approved a document to make it easier to revoke concessions to operate motorways. The decree does not mention Atlantia, but a government source told Reuters that the measures could be applied to it.

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