- German factory orders fell unexpectedly in December, dampening optimism over the health of the euro zone’s largest economy, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, Deutsche Bundesbank said factory orders declined by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in December, disappointing expectations for a pickup of 0.4%. Factory orders rose by 2.4% in November, whose figure was revised up from a previously reported increase of 2.1%.

Year-over-year, German factory orders increased at an annualized rate of 6% in December from a year earlier, below forecasts for a 6.3% gain, after rising at a rate of 7.2% in November.

Following the release of the data, the euro held on to modest losses against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD shedding 0.04% to trade at 1.3527.

Meanwhile, European stock markets were higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 1%, France''s CAC 40 advanced 1%, Germany''s DAX rallied 1.1%, while the FTSE 100 edged up 0.75%.

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