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Europe equities stable after record run

[LONDON] Europe's stock markets steadied on Friday in opening deals, one day after striking record peaks in Frankfurt and London.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top bluechip companies shed 0.3 per cent to 7,533.45 points, after hitting a record closing high the previous day on the plunging pound.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.1 per cent to 12,995.08 compared with the close on Thursday, when it had breached the symbolic 13,000-point barrier for the first time in intra-day trade on easing Catalan concerns.

The Paris CAC 40 was meanwhile almost flat at 5,362.73.

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The FTSE was catapulted on Thursday to an all-time closing pinnacle on the weak pound, which which boosts earnings of exporters.

Sterling slid after European Union negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Britain and Brussels are stuck in a "disturbing" deadlock over the Brexit divorce bill.

However, the currency then rebounded as German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Britain could be given a two-year extension to complete Brexit.

"Sterling is on quite the rollercoaster ride, recovering from Michel Barnier's 'disturbing deadlock' comments thanks to a report in Handelsblatt," noted Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

"Yesterday afternoon's pound-plunge was sizable enough to send the FTSE to a fresh all-time closing high.

"Yet by the evening the currency had clawed back its losses, and then some, after Handelsblatt claimed the EU are prepared to offer the UK a two-year transitional deal, where the latter would meet all of its financial obligations but give up its voting rights."

AFP

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