Friday, September 17, 2010

Europe shares close at week-low on economy worries

LONDON: European shares closed lower on Thursday, , Sept 16 as investors worried that high U.S. jobless numbers, despite falls in weekly claims, and disappointing British retail sales could signal a slowdown in the pace of economic recovery.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares provisionally closed 0.8 percent lower at 1,076.35 points to hit its lowest closing level in a week.

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a two-month low last week at 450,000, while British retail sales fell unexpectedly in August for the first time in seven months, a sign the economy was on a slow growth path.

UK retailers were among the decliners, with Next, Marks & Spencer and Home Retail down 0.2 to 0.8 percent.

"Times are difficult because of the combination of high unemployment, banks not lending yet and governments starting to implement austerity measures. All these factors are not going to be resolved overnight," said Franz Weis, a fund manager at Comgest in Paris. - Reuters

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