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MENAFN - AFP - 12/10/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) European stock markets retreated on Friday, while the euro rose against the dollar, as investors wound down a week once more overtaken by Spanish debt strains and weak outlooks for the global economy.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies dropped 0.25 percent to 5,815.07 points in late morning deals, as Frankfurt's DAX 30 dipped 0.19 percent to 7,268.15 points and in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.33 percent to 3,402.46 points.

Madrid's IBEX 35 index dipped 0.09 percent and Milan slid 0.11 percent.

In foreign exchange trading, the euro rose to 1.2977 from 1.2926 late in New York on Thursday. Gold prices dipped to 1,767 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from 1,769 an ounce on Thursday.

European shares failed to get much of a bounce from strong third quarter earnings reported by US banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.17 percent to 13,348.81 in the first five minutes of trading.

The S&P 500 gained 0.09 percent to 1,434.15 points, while the tech-rich Nasdaq dipped (0.08 percent) to 3,051.79.

JPMorgan shares lost 0.2 percent even though it handily beat forecasts with its 5.7 billion profit. Wells Fargo fell 3.1 percent after slightly surpassing expectations with a 4.9 billion net for the quarter.

"The markets have been stuck like a rabbit in the headlights over the past couple of weeks," said Simon Denham, head of Capital Spreads trading group.

"The strong rebound since June really seems to be running out of steam and yesterday's strength in European indices did not rub off."

The International Monetary Fund this week slashed its growth forecasts across the world, citing the festering debt crisis in Europe, a stuttering recovery in the United States and a slowdown in China.

Adding to the worries is Spain's continued refusal to ask for a bailout from international lenders despite the terrible state of its finances.

Hopes for the US economy were given a boost Thursday when the Labor Department said insurance benefits plunged unexpectedly last week to the lowest level since February 2008.

New jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, came in at 339,000 in the week to October 6, far below the previous week's 369,000 and the then four-week average of 375,500.

Those figures come on top of data last week showing the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8 percent in September.

"The optimism did not last long as investors were still concerned by the slow pace of economic growth in the US, the turmoil in Europe and China finding it difficult to expand at double digit rate, so the Dow actually ended up in the red" on Thursday, added Denham.

Asian stocks markets ended mixed on Friday as earlier gains from promising US jobs figures and hopes for upcoming Chinese economic data were offset by concerns over the global economy, dealers said.

Japanese shares were also hit by a plunge in telecom giant Softbank after it emerged it is eyeing a near 13 billion deal to buy Sprint Nextel of the United States, in what would be one of Japan's biggest ever overseas deals.

Earlier this week, Standard & Poor's sliced its credit rating for Spain, citing a number of factors including the eurozone country's deepening recession.

S&P cut the rating to BBB- from BBB, just one level above "speculative" or "junk" grade debt, which could have sent Madrid's borrowing costs skyrocketing to untenable levels.

Investors' eyes were also firmly on China, which on Saturday releases trade figures for September amid hopes for an improvement on recent months that have revealed tumbling exports and imports as the demand in key markets dries up.

China, the world's second largest economy behind the United States, will on Monday release inflation data, followed by crucial gross domestic product figures.


 






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