European shares inch higher as investors eye major Fed policy outcome

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Dec 15 (Reuters) - European shares inched higher on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision that is likely to signal a quicker withdrawal of its pandemic stimulus measures to counter broadening inflationary risks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX was up 0.5% at 471.84 points, as of 0831 GMT. Stock markets across Asia skidded as China's weaker-than-expected retail sales in November dented sentiment.

Tech .SX8P , utility .SX6P , and auto .SXAP sectors supported the index, while miners .SXPP and energy stocks .SXEP dropped.

Among individual companies, shares of Generali GASI.MI rose 1.3% after Italy's top insurer pledged to return up to 6.1 billion euros ($6.88 billion) in dividends and buybacks to shareholders as Chief Executive Officer Philippe Donnet presented a new strategy.

The top performer on the benchmark was support services provider DCC DCC.L , which jumped 5.8%, after announcing its acquisition of Almo Corp for about $610 million and receiving a price target raise at J.P.Morgan.

Shares of IAG ICAG.L , British Airways' parent company, dropped 1% after saying it is in advanced talks to cancel its acquisition of rival Air Europa from Spanish company Globalia.

($1 = 0.8872 euros)

Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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