Europe stocks close higher; US deadlock drags
European shares closed higher on Friday, helped by Italy's FTSE MIB, which continued to rally two days after Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a vote of confidence, and after a Senate committee recommended Silvio Berlusconi should lose his seat.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally higher at 0.1 percent to 1,243.40 points, having traded lower in the morning.
There are growing fears that the budget deadlock could run on, potentially hampering attempts to solve a greater challenge – raising the U.S. debt limit ceiling. This must be agreed before October 17, if the U.S. is to avoid defaulting on its debts. U.S. nonfarm payrolls data will not be released on Friday due to the partial shutdown.
Speaking in Washington overnight, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a failure to raise the debt ceiling before October 17 could hurt the global economy and warned that U.S. economic growth could drop below 2 percent this year.
"European equity markets are mixed, having traded in a relatively narrow range with little significant economic or corporate news flow to set direction. Sentiment continues to be affected by the implications of the continuing U.S. government shutdown," Nomura said in a research note on Friday.
U.S. stocks edged higher after a wobbly open Friday, with the Dow clawing back above the psychologically-significant 15000 mark, but the ongoing government shutdown kept investors on edge. The FTSE 100 closed only slightly higher, due to many stocks' heavy exposure to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Italian shares closed 1.6 percent higher, with recent politician tensions beginning to look like reaching a conclusion.
A Senate committee recommended on Friday that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should be expelled from the chamber for a tax fraud conviction he received back in August. The Committee said it will present its recommendation to expel Berlusconi to the full Senate for a vote within 20 days.
The Senate Committee decision comes after a turbulent week in Italian politics and follows Berlusconi bowing to pressure from within his own party to support Prime Minister Enrico Letta in a vote of confidence on Wednesday.
In stocks news, U.K. electronics retailer Dixons received a price target upgrade form UBS; shares closed up 1.62 percent.
Shares of Deutsche Telekom closed higher by 3.66 percent after an upgrade by UBS from "neutral" to a "buy".
Shares of Telecom Italia fell by 0.78 percent after the announcement that Chief Operating Officer Marco Patuano will take over responsibilities after CEO Franco Bernabe stepped down after clashing with shareholders.
Shares of tyre company Nokian Renkaat fell 7.59 percent after the firm issued a profit warning on Friday.
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