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European shares hover near record-high levels; US economic data on tap

(Reuters) - European shares opened higher on Thursday, supported by a raft of optimistic corporate updates, while investors remained cautious ahead of key economic data from the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2%, as of 0811 GMT, hovering near record-high levels hit on Wednesday.

The personal and household goods sub-index added 0.6% to be the top sectoral performer, with a 6.1% spike in Embracer after the gaming company announced an agreement to divest selected assets from the operative group Saber Interactive for $247 million, thereby ceasing all operations in Russia.

Shares of K&S rose 5.5% after the salt and potash miner beat expectations on annual results and provided better-than-expected outlook.

German container shipper Hapag-Lloyd posted an 83% decline in net profit for 2023, and cut its dividend by 85% in what it called a challenging market environment. Shares of Hapag-Lloyd tumbled 1.1%.

On the data front, investors braced for February producer prices and retail sales numbers out of the United States that could steer hopes for a mid-year rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

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