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Europe Shares to Open Lower, Spooked by US Data

European shares are seen opening lower Friday as weak data from the U.S. tempers sentiment despite strong corporate earnings this week.

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The FTSE 100 is seen opening lower by 14 points, the DAX is called lower by 17 points and the CAC is called lower by 16 points.
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Economic data on U.S. weekly jobless claims showed these remained high while housing data also showed weakness dampening sentiment.

Despite a strong bond auction Thursday, Spain and bailout fears refused to go away, pulling European markets lower Thursday.

The International Monetary Fund , which has been doing the rounds to obtain more funding to boost a financial firewall to contain the euro zone debt crisis, was warned by Brazil that in return for more funding from the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – more power would have to be given to them.

Deep losses are expected from Greek banks, which are due to report 2011 results later Friday including National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank.

A French government official dismissed reports that the country has been notified of a potential credit rating downgrade, saying no rating agency had made any information available in that regard.

Talk of a possible downgrade contributed to the fall in European shares and sent yields on German Bunds even lower Thursday afternoon.

U.S. earnings news Friday will be dominated by economic bellwethers McDonaldsGeneral Electric .