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European Shares Mostly Lower On Political Worries

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European stocks retreated on Friday as investors fretted over political risks in Spain and the U.K.

Spanish banks came under selling pressure again after the Catalan government said it would press ahead with its planned parliament meeting on Monday to discuss Sunday's referendum result and announce a unilateral declaration of independence in defiance of a court ban.

In the U.K., pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Theresa May after former Tory party chairman Grant Shapps admitted he is running a campaign to oust her.

Also, with all eyes set on the U.S. jobs report due later in the day, a weaker euro and encouraging factory orders data from Germany failed to enthuse investors.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.2 percent at 390.36 in late opening deals after rising 0.2 percent in the previous session. Spain's IBEX was down as much as 0.7 percent after a strong rally the previous day.

France's CAC 40 index was losing 0.2 percent, while the German DAX was marginally higher in cautious trade and the UK's FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent.

Spain's Caixabank fell over 2 percent while Banco Sabadell lost 3 percent.

Danish biotech company Genmab declined 2.5 percent after JP Morgan cut its rating on the stock.

Building materials group CRH dropped 1.4 percent after acknowledging a rival third party bid for the takeover of Ash Grove Cement Co.

British postal service and courier company Royal Mail edged up 0.6 percent despite workers voting for an industrial action.

Novartis also rose modestly after its eye care unit Alcon achieved European CE Mark for the Clareon IOL with the AutonoMe delivery system.

French automaker Renault rallied 1.5 percent after announcing a six-year plan to deliver annual revenues of over 70 billion euros.

In economic releases, German factory orders rebounded at a faster than expected pace in August, data from Destatis showed. Factory orders grew 3.6 percent month-on-month in August, reversing a revised 0.4 percent fall in July.

The French trade deficit narrowed to an eight-month low in August due to acceleration in exports amid a decline in imports, the customs office said.

The current account deficit, meanwhile, narrowed to 1.5 billion euros in August from 4.3 billion euros in July.

Permanent job placements in the U.K grew at the weakest pace in five months in September, the Report on Jobs compiled by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and IHS Markit showed.

U.K. house prices increased 4 percent year-on-year in three months to September, faster than the 2.6 percent rise seen in three months to August, data from mortgage lender Halifax and HIS Markit showed.

by RTT Staff Writer

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