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European shares open lower on rate jitters; Novartis rises

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(Reuters) – European shares opened lower on Thursday as rate-sensitive technology shares slipped on expectations of further interest rate hikes by major central banks, although gains in Swiss healthcare group Novartis helped limit losses.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index dipped 0.1% by 0715 GMT, with the technology sector down 1.3%.

Fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve could opt for a hawkish stance in its meeting next week and expectations that the European Central Bank will continue to tighten its monetary policy weighed on stocks.

This sentiment comes after the Bank of Canada hiked its overnight rate to a 22-year high of 4.75% on Wednesday, and markets and analysts immediately forecast yet another increase next month.

Shares of Novartis rose 1% after the company said its soon-to-be spun-off generics division Sandoz is expected to expand its pipeline and potentially generate an additional $3 billion in net sales over the next five years.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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