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European Shares Set To Follow Asian Peers Lower


European stocks may open on a subdued note Friday, with worries about a slowdown in China and concerns over Italy's budget deficit likely to keep investors cautious, heading into the weekend.

Gold prices fell to their lowest level in a week and the dollar gained versus the euro and sterling after the Federal Reserve left rates unchanged, but signaled further gradual increases in rates despite signs of a slowdown in the pace of growth in business investment.

Italian budget concerns also returned to the fore after the Italian government insisted it would stick with its plan to rapidly increase public spending.

Shortly after the European Commission published its pessimistic forecasts for Italy, the country's Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said the numbers come from an "inadequate and partial analysis."

Asian markets are trading lower, with energy stocks tumbling after crude oil entered a bear market.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell 1.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down as much as 2.4 percent after reports that Beijing plans to set quotas for banks' loans to private companies.

Dismal China inflation data for October also suggested that economic momentum in the world's second-largest economy is softening in the face of simmering trade frictions with the United States.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed after the Fed signaled it was still on course to hike interest rates in December.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up marginally, while the S&P 500 slid 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite shed half a percent.

European markets also ended mixed on Thursday after the European Union warned of slowing growth across the single currency bloc.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.2 percent. The German DAX dropped half a percent and France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.1 percent while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent.

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