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CAC 40 Slides On Rate Worries; Banks Shine

French stocks fell sharply on Thursday as investors watched currency movements and kept an eye on Italy, where the coalition government set budget deficit target of 2.1 percent of GDP for 2020 and 1.8 percent of GDP for the following year.

The government needs to obtain European authorities' approval to keep the 2019 deficit level at 2.4 percent.

The benchmark CAC 40 was down 44 points or 0.80 percent at 5,448 in opening deals after closing 0.4 percent higher in the previous session.

Publicis Groupe was little changed after announcing the acquisition of Kindred Group, the largest, independent digital communications group in Czech Republic.

Banks followed their U.S. peers higher after upbeat U.S. economic data drove 10-year U.S. Treasury yields to their highest level since 2011.

BNP Paribas rose half a percent, Credit Agricole advanced 1.5 percent and Societe Generale added 1.4 percent.

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