CAC 40 Little Changed In Lackluster Trade

French stocks were little changed in cautious trade on Wednesday as concerns about the prospect of a so-called hard Brexit kept underlying sentiment cautious. Weak data from Japan also weighed on markets.

Risks of a no-deal Brexit ramped up again in the wake of reports that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will amend the Brexit bill, explicitly ruling out any extension to the transition period beyond December 2020.

The U.K. is due to leave the European Union by January 31, leaving little time for a trade deal to be agreed with the EU.

Meanwhile, official data showed today that Japan's exports decreased for the 12th consecutive month in November, raising the risk of a contraction in the fourth quarter.

Exports fell 7.9 percent on a yearly basis in November - slower than the 8.8 percent fall economists had expected.

The benchmark CAC 40 was marginally higher at 5,971 after closing 0.4 percent lower on Tuesday.

Peugeot shares advanced 1.5 percent as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCAU) and Peugeot S.A. agreed on a 50/50 merger of their businesses.

At closing, Groupe PSA shareholders will receive 1.742 shares of the new combined company for each share of Groupe PSA, while FCA shareholders will have 1 share of the new combined company for each share of FCA.

Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in 12-15 months.

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