European stock markets fall before US data [Times of Oman]
(Times of Oman Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) European stock markets fell on Thursday as dealers awaited the release of growth data from the United States and digested takeover talk in the telecoms sector.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.10 percent to stand at 6,545.06 points around midday in the British capital.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 fell 0.25 percent to 8,643.91 points and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.41 percent to 4,178.20 compared with Wednesday's closing levels.
Indices are "in the red zone as investors continue to weigh up the fiscal and monetary situation in the US ahead of final second-quarter GDP data", said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital traders.
US Republicans and Democrats have until midnight on Monday to agree a budget package to fund the government. If a deal is not reached some federal agencies will shut down from Tuesday, and hundreds of thousands of workers will be sent home.
Adding to investors fears is Republicans' refusal to agree to lift the US debt ceiling from $16.7 trillion -- which must be achieved by mid-October -- unless there are cuts to President Barack Obama's health care law in the budget.
In foreign exchange deals, the European single currency dropped to $1.3490 from $1.3525 late in New York on Wednesday. The dollar climbed to 98.68 yen from 98.40.
Sterling fell to $1.6046 from $1.6080 Wednesday, while one euro was worth 84.07 pence against 84.10.
Britain's economic output grew by 0.7 percent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of the year, official data showed on Thursday, confirming the previous estimate.
Gross domestic product -- the total value of goods and services produced in the economy -- meanwhile grew by 0.4 percent in the first quarter, up from an earlier reading of 0.3 percent, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
"GDP in volume terms increased by 1.3 percent" in the second quarter compared with one year earlier, the ONS added.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold gained to $1,335.13 an ounce from $1,322.75 on Wednesday.Investors track takeover talk
In company activity, shares in French telecoms-equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent jumped 6.20 percent to 2.69 euros on reports of a possible link-up with Nokia.
German sanitary fittings maker Grohe meanwhile announced a takeover worth 3.0 billion euros ($4.1 billion) by Japanese housing and building materials company Lixil in a deal to form the world's largest player in the sector.
TUI Travel shares rose 1.71 percent to 362.5 pence after Europe's biggest tour operator said it was raising its full-year profits forecast following robust trading during the northern hemisphere summer.
The company, whose brands include First Choice and Thomson, however added that it would "significantly" cut its holidays on offer in Egypt for the upcoming winter season owing to unrest in the north African country.
The London-listed company said in a statement that it expected operating profit growth of "at least 11 percent" in the 12 months to the end of September compared with 2011-2012.
This compared with previous guidance of 10 percent for earnings before tax and interest payments in 2012-2013.
Asian stock markets closed mixed on Thursday as attention turned to another stand-off in Washington over the US budget.
Earlier losses in Tokyo were reversed as traders were cheered by a report that Japan's government was planning to cut corporation taxes to negate the blow of an expected sales tax hike, traders said.
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