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Europe Shares Seen Lower; Greek Politics in Focus

Financial bookmakers expected to see the leading European benchmark indexes falling on Friday and recording a seventh straight weekly loss, on mounting concerns that Greece might not be able to avoid a default.

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Adam Gault | OJO Images | Getty Images
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Prime Minister George Papandreou delayed a cabinet reshuffle until 7:00 am London time on Friday and the IMF said Thursday that continued support for the debt-ridden country is dependent on Athens adopting previously agreed economic policy reforms and approval by the IMF’s board of member countries.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 14-24 points lower, or down 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX to open 18 points lower, or down 0.3 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 16 points lower, or down 0.4 percent.

On Thursday, London’s FTSE closed down 43.74 points to 5698.81, the DAX was down 4.88 points to 7110.20 and the CAC 40 closed down 14.54 points to 3792.31.

In the US, stocks ended mixed amid Greek concerns and ahead of the quadruple witching Friday when contracts for stock index futures, stock index options, stock equity options and single stock futures expire.

Asian stocks also traded mixed in choppy trade on Friday as uncertainty over Greece kept investors on edge.

Italian fashion house Prada priced its initial offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange at HK $39.5 a share, with Prada and shareholders Prada Holding BV and Intesa Sanpaolo selling 423.3 million shares, raising HK $16.72 billion ($2.14 billion) according to Reuters sources.

The euro was steadier in Asia on Friday after a tumultuous 24 hours that saw it slump to a record low against the Swiss franc, before staging a rebound.

The single currency traded at 1.2039 against the Swiss franc, off a record low around 1.1946 and against the dollar the euro reached $1.4177 from below $1.4100.

EU economic data out on Friday includes construction output and foreign trade figures for April which will be available from 10:00 London time.

In Russia the St Petersburg International Economic Forum continues Friday, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao due to speak.

In France the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook will be released followed by a news conference with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria and FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

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