By RTT News, September 25, 2013, 06:59:00 AM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - The European markets are seeking direction on Wednesday afternoon, after Germany's consumer morale touched its highest level in six years and worries persisted that a political deadlock in Washington on raising the debt ceiling might jeopardize the Obama government.
The U.S. Government will reach its borrowing limit of $16.7 trillion next month. The debt ceiling has to be raised by Congress, which requires a consensus between the White House and the Republican lawmakers.
On the economic front, results of a survey by market research group GfK showed that German consumer morale touched its highest level in six years heading into October, as households' outlook of the general economy brightened further.
The forward-looking headline consumer confidence index for October came in at 7.1, up from an upwardly revised 7 for September. Economists had forecast the index to rise to 7 from the 6.9 initially estimated for September.
Meanwhile, confidence in the French industrial sector unexpectedly deteriorated in September, data released by statistical office Insee showed. The headline industrial confidence index dropped to 97 points in September from 98 points in the previous month.
The Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee said it would keep a close watch on the country's housing market developments and would be alert to potential risks to financial system stability. The recovery in the housing market "appeared to have gained momentum and to be broadening," the FPC said in a statement from its policy meeting on September 18.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.18 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is falling 0.06 percent.
After swinging across the unchanged line, the German DAX and the French CAC 40 are losing 0.3 percent each, while the FTSE 100 of the UK is falling 0.2 percent. Switzerland's SMI is marginally lower.
In Frankfurt, Gerresheimer is declining 2.1 percent after Commerzbank cut the stock to ''Add'' from ''Buy.''
Commerzbank is declining 5 percent and Deutsche Bank is falling 0.8 percent.
Citigroup named RWE a ''Least Preferred Stock'' for next 3 months. The shares are up 0.2 percent.
ThyssenKrupp is gaining 3.7 percent after Cevian Capital acquired a stake in the steel firm.
Wacker Chemie is gaining 3.1 percent. UBS added the stock to its ''Most Preferred List.''
In Paris, Telecom firm Orange is gaining 2.3 percent and Airbus maker EADS is up 1.1 percent.
S&P Capital raised Total to ''Strong Buy'' from ''Buy.'' The stock is unchanged.
In London, Fresnillo is gaining 2.8 percent. Anglo American and BHP Billiton are advancing 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
BAE Systems and Travis Perkins are adding 2.5 percent each.
Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays are rising 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Lloyds Banking is gaining 0.9 percent. Reports said Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. has dropped out of its $900 million bid for the Australian assets of Lloyds.
Carnival is declining 6.6 percent. The cruise operator was reduced to ''Underweight'' from ''Overweight'' at Morgan Stanley.
Nordea is losing 2.6 percent in Stockholm after Sweden sold its remaining stake in the lender.
Across Asia/Pacific, most markets fell, amid worries about the debt ceiling in the U.S. where futures point to a lower open on Wall Street.
In the previous session, U.S. stocks drifted lower, reflecting worries over a possible government shutdown, uncertainty surrounding Federal Reserve policy and mixed economic reports on home prices and consumer confidence.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to cling to a modest gain, while the Dow fell 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 dropped 0.3 percent.
In the commodity space, crude for November delivery is gaining $0.60 to $103.73 per barrel while December gold is advancing $5.7 to $1322.0 a troy ounce.
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