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European shares edge lower but head for 3rd week of gains

LONDON Nov 25 European shares edged lower in early trading on Friday, with weaker oil prices hurting energy stocks and Italian lenders dragging down European banking index.

The STOXX Europe 600 index was down 0.2 percent by 0826 GMT, but still remained on track for a third straight week of gains. Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were down 0.1 to 0.3 percent.

The European oil and gas index fell 0.6 percent, the top sectoral decliner, after oil prices fell more than 1 percent on a strong dollar, rising Saudi supplies to Asian clients and a fall in Chinese imports.

Italian banks dropped 0.8 percent on lingering concerns ahead of a referendum vote on Dec. 4 that could topple Matteo Renzi's reformist government. The European banking index was down 0.6 percent.

However, drugmakers capped losses, with the European healthcare index up 0.6 percent.

The sector was helped by a sharp rally in Swiss biotechnology firm Actelion on a report of a takeover approach by Johnson & Johnson underpinning the market.

Actelion shares rose nearly 10 percent, the top gainer in the STOXX 600 index and set for their biggest one-day gain since mid-2014, after a Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the matter, further said Actelion was working with an adviser to explore options.

Actelion declined to comment, while J&J did not respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Atul Prakash)

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