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European shares slip weighed by Swiss Re; RBS up


[MILAN] European shares inched lower in early deals on Friday as investors focused on a raft of mixed company results with insurance firm Swiss Re hit after missing profit estimates.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell 0.1 per cent, and on track to end the week flat following two straight week of declines. Euro zone blue chips fell 0.2 per cent and Britain's FTSE was flat.

Swiss Re was the biggest drag to the Stoxx, down 3.4 per cent, after the world's second-largest reinsurer said first-half net profit fell 35 per cent, missing expectations.

But Royal Bank of Scotland, which has not made an annual profit since 2007, rose 3.5 per cent after the British bank swung to a first-half profit as its recovery continued.

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Nearly two thirds of the companies listed on the MSCI Europe index have already released results. Of them, 61 per cent have either beaten of matched expectations with second-quarter earnings growth expected at more than 22 per cent.