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MILAN, Dec 9 (Reuters) - European shares were slightly higher in early trading on Friday, underpinned by a rebound among healthcare stocks, while Gemalto rose after an acquisition.
By 0820 GMT, the STOXX Europe 600 was up 0.1 percent, on track for its best week since February and after reaching its highest level in 11 months in the previous session.
The pan-European index was boosted this week by a powerful rally in banking stock which got a further boost on Thursday by the European Central Bank's unexpected decision to cut its monthly asset purchase.
Europe's banking index was down 0.7 percent, but remained set for its best week in five years.
Investors instead dipped back in to under-pressure defensive stocks, with healthcare having been out of favour on concerns over pricing pressure in the United States. The sector rose 0.9 percent.
Amsterdam-based digital security company Gemalto rose 3.3 percent after agreeing to buy 3M's identity management business for $850 million.
Reporting by Danilo Masoni