February 26, 2018 / 8:53 AM / 21 days ago

European shares edge higher, Hiscox slumps

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LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - European shares opened slightly higher on Monday with gains across bourses and sectors, as focus gradually shifts from the earnings season to monetary policy and politics this week with Italy’s general election on Sunday.

While the ECB President Mario Draghi is to make a speech at the European Parliament Monday afternoon, the new Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is to give his first House testimony on Tueday.

At 0830 GMT, the pan-European STOXX benchmark index was up 0.75 percent at 384 points.

Lloyd’s of London underwriter Hiscox posted the worst performance of the index with a 4.7 percent fall after it reported a fall of more than 90 percent in full-year pretax profit, as it faced the costliest year ever for insurers and reinsurers due to natural disasters.

Outside the STOXX 600, shares in Dutch postal company PostNL sank 16 percent after it lowered its cash operating income target for 2020.

Deutsche Bank rose 0.7 percent after it said it would float its asset management arm DWS on the Frankfurt stock exchange, as it fights to regain investor trust afters years of scandals and restructuring.

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