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Europe close: Stocks slip ahead of US Fed Beige Book

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Europe close: Stocks slip ahead of US Fed Beige Book

(ShareCast News) - Stocks on the Continent finished slightly lower as investors bid their time ahead of the release of the US central bank's Beige Book on Wednesday, against the backdrop of fresh intra-day records on Wall Street's main benchmarks with the Dow Industrials having climbed above the 23,000 point mark for the first time ever.
Also on investors' minds were the results of an evening meeting the day before between Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker, in which they decided to "accelerate" Brexit negotiations.

"Last night's meeting between Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker didn't appear to move discussions any further along than they were at the end of last week, though there did seem to be some movement on the working on a framework for a transition deal amongst the remaining EU27 if sufficient progress was deemed to have been made by December.

"It does still appear that the EU is sticking to its line that an agreement on the Northern Irish border must be made before trade talks can begin despite the two being interlinked," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Against that backdrop, by the closing bell the benchmark Stoxx 600 was 0.25% lower at 390.44, while the Dax was down 0.07% to 12,995.06.

Meanwhile, Spain's benchmark Ibex 35 was ahead 0.35% at 10,216.80.

In economic news, the ZEW institute's closely-followed economic sentiment gauge for Germany improved by 0.6 points to 17.6.

Commenting on the survey results, ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach said: "The framework conditions for German exports, which have already seen a significant rise, are further improved by positive growth figures for Europe. The fact that the inflation rate is rising again, and expected to climb further, equally points towards a positive economic development in Germany, making a change in the ECB's monetary policy more likely."

Elsewhere, headline consumer prices in the single currency bloc accelerated to a 1.5% year-on-year clip in September, Eurostat reported, confirming an earlier estimate.

Core inflation for the same month was also confirmed at 1.1% down from an August reading of 1.2%.

On the corporate front, Easyjet announced that like Lufthansa it too was interested in buying some insolvent rival Alitalia's assets.

Overnight, Airbus picked up a majority stake in Bombardier's CSeries jetliner project as the latter fights off a trade dispute with US rival Boeing.

France's Casino posted slightly better-than-expected third quarter revenues, edging past the consensus forecast.

Another French household name, Danone, disclosed an acceleration in underlying group sales for the three months to September, amid stronger demand for baby food formula and water in China.

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