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FTSE, DAX, CAC Seen Lower as Volatile Quarter Closes

Stocks in Europe are pointing to a lower open on Friday as Germany's approval of reforms to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) proved insufficient to maintain positive momentum in the markets.

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European markets close out a third quarter that was wracked by the region's ongoing debt crisis and found developments on the continent largely leading sentiment in markets in the United States and beyond.

The period has been a brutal one for investors: France's CAC 40 is down 24 percent for the quarter; Germany's DAX is 23.5 percent lower, and the UK's FTSE has seen a 12.6 percent decline. The S&P 500 dropped 12 percent as well—the worst quarter for the United States since the financial crisis.

On Thursday, the news out of Germany pushed European shares higher, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares closing up 0.2 percent higher at 929.58 points after falling 1.2 percent in the previous session.

Germany's parliament on Thursday approved reforms to the EFSF that would allow the fund to participate in the primary market and to recapitalize European banks in a much-anticipated vote in the Bundestag. The EFSF is a vehicle financed by euro zone members, created in May of last year, that's designed to provide financial assistance to euro zone states suffering economic difficulty.

Economic data from the US also helped maintain Europe's momentum Thursday, as the Commerce Department said the economy there grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter and initial jobless claims fell more than expected, down 37,000 to 391,000 for the week ended September 24. Both numbers were better than analysts' forecasts.

Looking ahead, French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Paris on Friday.

Friday also marks the deadline for Spanish savings banks to boost capital ratios. The Bank of Spain holds a press briefing at 10 a.m. BST.

Germany's upper house, the Bundesrat, votes on enhancing the powers of the EFSF bailout fund. The Austrian government also votes Friday.