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Mining shares rebound, pharma under pressure in weak European open

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

MILAN Nov 21 European shares were slightly lower in early trading on Monday as weakness in defensives, particularly pharma and consumer staples, offset gains across the mining sector.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.2 percent. Strength in miners helped UK's FTSE index stay in positive territory, while healthcare dragged the Swiss index SMI into the red.

Italian banks continued to be under pressure amid concerns over capital hikes at Monte Paschi and UniCredit, as well as over an upcoming constitutional reform referendum. Italy's benchmark FTSE MIB hit a six-week low.

In deals news, a U.S. regulator moved to stop a planned Chinese takeover of the German chip designer Aixtron sending its shares more than 8 percent lower.

UK midcaps were also on the backfoot following outlook warnings from Essentra and Mitie, raising concerns over the impact of Brexit on domestic UK companies. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

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