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European Stocks Lower, Banks Fall

European shares were broadly lower Friday, as weakness in banking stocks dampened investor sentiment, but U.S. stocks made firm gains at the open on the Wall Street.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,510.2 points, well off its day's low of 1,501.12.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.8 percent, Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 0.6 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.7 percent.

Traders said financials were expected to be helped by a report of U.S. and European banks considering sales of some of their business units to help bolster balance sheets damaged by the recent credit crisis.

The Frankfurt stock exchange closed at the earlier time of 2 pm on Friday and will remain closed on Dec. 31, market operator Deutsche Boerse said.

The German benchmark stock market index, the DAX, rose 22.3 percent in 2007 to end at 8,067.32 points.

The DAX hit a record high of 8,151.57 points on Jul. 13 before the onset of the credit squeeze triggered by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

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