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European Shares Rangebound on Interest Rate Uncertainty; Miners Weigh

  • STOXX 600 up 0.2%
  • Real-estate, healthcare stocks top gainers
  • Aixtron drops on China export controls
  • US markets closed for holiday

July 4 (Reuters) - European shares were rangebound in thin trading on Tuesday, with a lack of fresh economic data from the region and uncertainty around the direction of global interest rates keeping investors cautious.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index held steady at 461.99 points by 0856 GMT, trading in a tight range as investors weighed hawkish signals from central bankers against data pointing to slowing global growth.

Top central bankers have maintained their focus on bringing inflation back to their target levels, even in the face of slowing growth in the U.S. and the euro zone, adding to uncertainty about future global monetary policy steps.

"Data in the U.S. and EU is increasingly pointing to the growing risk of slowing economic activity but where both the Fed and ECB (European Central Bank) continue to raise the spectre of higher interest rates to come," said Stuart Cole, chief macro economist at Equiti Capital.

"Consequently, I think we may see the market start to view the gains in stock prices made so far this year as worth capturing and that valuations will be lowered going forward."

Earlier in the day, Australia's central bank held interest rates steady, but reiterated its warning that further tightening might be needed to cool prices.

Analysts also pointed to a light economic data calendar and thin trading volumes influencing market moves, with most of Wall Street closed for the U.S. Independence Day.

Among sectors, miners fell 0.2% as metal prices slipped on concerns about the demand outlook from China after a raft of weak economic data.

However, a 1.8% increase in real estate stocks helped keep the STOXX 600 steady, while healthcare stocks rebounded from the previous day's sharp declines.

Travel and leisure stocks edged higher as Irish airline Ryanair's upbeat monthly traffic numbers helped sentiment for the sector.

Britain's second-largest supermarket group Sainsubury fell 1.7% as fierce competition in the sector took shine off its robust quarterly sales.

German chip firm Aixtron dropped 2.5% after China said it will control exports of some metals widely used in the semiconductor industry.

Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Varun H K

Source: Reuters

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