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[video] The Deal: European Stocks Gain Ground, Asian Shares End Lower

LONDON (The Deal) -- European stock indices edged higher on Wednesday, regaining ground after two days of losses, while Asian indices largely finished the day in the red.

The FTSE in London was up 0.08% at 6,537.96, while in Frankfurt the DAX gained 0.21% to 9,242.84. In Paris, the CAC 40 was up 0.40% at 4,189.05.

Eurostat's second set of third-quarter GDP figures showed the eurozone economy contracted by an annual 0.4%, in line with expectations, and edged up 0.1% on the quarter. The European Commission's statistics arm had last month released earlier figures based on more limited data.

In the U.K., leading food retailer Tesco posted weak third-quarter sales figures which were nevertheless in line with expectations.  The once-mighty company's growth abruptly stalled early last year and it said Wednesday that same-store sales in the U.K. had fallen 1.5% in the third quarter, with mainland Europe and Asia faring even worse.  The company earlier this fall agreed to sell its El Segundo, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets chain after failing to crack the U.S. Its shares were little changed after the announcement.

In Dublin,  Bank of Ireland Group shares slipped 2.2% on news of a  580 million euros ($788.2 million) share sale to raise funds to buy back preference shares held by the Irish state. The move, together with a planned government sale of a further 1.3 euros billion of preference shares to private investors, allows for the state's exit from the lender.

In Sydney, malls owner Westfield Group rose 4% after it said it would split into two REITS, one housing its Australian assets and one for its overseas operations. The company, which ended the day with a market value of A$22.8 billion ($20.6 billion), owns 39 U.S. malls, including the  South Shore and Sunrise malls in Long Island.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 tumbled 2.17% to close at 15,407.94 as the yen strengthened. The fall came despite leaked reports that the government is poised to announce a  18.6 trillion yen ($181 billion) stimulus package to counter the expected impact of an April sales tax increase. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 0.76% to close at 23,728.70.

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