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Weak U.S. Dollar, Economic News Weigh On European Stocks

European shares extended losses on Thursday after a report showed business activity in the U.S. Midwest contracted in November for the first time in 3 1/2 years.

LONDON - UK blue chips ended weaker today, close to session lows after a topsy-turvy session, as Wall Street dropped back from early gains following a much weaker than expected reading for the Chicago PMI, dealers said.

At the close, the FTSE 100 index was down 35.6 points at 6,048.8, just above the late low of 6,043.9, having fallen back from an early afternoon peak of 6,108.9.

FRANKFURT - German shares closed lower after a weak Wall Street open, as a major indicator of business activity in the US fell more than expected, while MAN and Metro fought at the top of a small group of advancers against the downward trend, dealers said.

At the close, the DAX 30 index was down 54.61 points or 0.86% at 6,309.19 having moved between a low of 6,304.62 and a high of 6,402.71 today. The MDAX was 54.28 points or 0.61% lower at 8,783.10, while the TecDAX fell 4.21 points or 0.52 pct to 798.75.

PARIS - Share prices closed sharply lower, retreating from early gains after another round of discouraging US economic data rattled investor confidence, and offset the positive impact of fresh merger and acquisition speculation in France, dealers said.

The CAC-40 index finished down 53.61 points or 1% at 5,327.64, on heavy volume of 5.6 billion euro.

MILAN - Share prices reversed earlier gains to close lower as Wall Street opened down and the dollar stayed under pressure, but Fastweb and Generali bucked the trend on continuing bid rumors, brokers said.

The Mibtel index fell 0.69% to 30,997 points while the S&P/Mib was down 0.66 pct at 40,270. Volume was an estimated 5.711 billion eur.

MADRID - Shares closed lower following yesterday's gains, pulled down by a weak start on Wall Street, with Sacyr Vallehermoso falling off yesterday's sharp gains to end the session lower, dealers said.

The IBEX-35 index closed down 128.70 points at 13,849.30, its lowest point in the session, after trading as high as 14,031, on turnover of 4.8 billion euro.

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