June 21, 2019 / 7:19 AM / a month ago

European shares pause after 5% surge, Iran tensions weigh

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June 21 (Reuters) - Rising tensions between the United States and Iran helped halt European stock market gains on Friday after a strong run driven by signals from major central banks that they are on the verge of more action to prop up a slowing global economy.

The New York Times reported on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump had approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for shooting down a U.S. drone, before pulling back from launching the attacks.

That drove Asian stock markets lower overnight and kept the pan-European STOXX 600 index, up nearly 5% so far this month, flat at opening.

The telecom sector was an outperformer, up 0.4% after Telecom Italia signed an agreement that opened the door to talks on integrating its fiber optic network with that of smaller rival Open Fiber, including a possible merger. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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