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Market Observations

European Stocks Seen Subdued Due To US Budget Deadlock

 European stocks may see a cautious start on Wednesday, tracking losses on Wall Street and mixed cues from the Asian markets on concerns the stand-off over U.S. budget talks will damp the economy. The Congress needs to agree on spending, in particular over President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law, before September 30 to avoid a government shutdown.

While consumer confidence has bounced back from the depths of the recession, Americans are becoming less optimistic about the health of the U.S. economy over the next six months, overnight data showed, increasing investor anxiety ahead of U.S. reports on durable goods orders and new home sales due out later in the day.

Closer home, the results of a German consumer confidence survey by market research group GfK are slated for release later in the European session, with economists expecting the forward-looking index to edge up to 7 in October from 6.9 in the previous month. The French statistical office Insee will release the results of its business confidence survey for September, with the headline index forecast to rise to 99 from 98 in August.

Meanwhile, the United Nations team probing the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria will return to the Middle East nation today to complete its investigation of pending credible allegations, including the 19 March incident at Khan al-Asal, a spokesperson for the world body said. The team is assisted by experts from the World Health Organization and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In corporate news, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group has dropped its $900 million bid for Lloyds Banking Group Plc.'s Australian assets, media reports suggest.

Switzerland-based offshore drilling contractor Noble Corp. said that it has received board approval to separate the company's business into two separate and highly-focused offshore drilling companies.

Solazyme, Inc., a renewable oil and bioproducts company, said that it has executed a commercial supply agreement with Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever Plc. for the first partnered Solazyme Tailored Algal Oil.

Novartis International AG said that it would present new data showing the benefits of Gilenya on patient outcomes in multiple sclerosis at the 29th Congress of the European Committee for Research and Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Merck announced its decision to continue clinical development of the investigational MUC1 antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy tecemotide under a new Phase III trial called START2 for patients with unresectable, locally advanced Stage III non-small cell lung cancer.

The European markets posted modest gains on Tuesday as investors digested mixed eurozone economic data and remained wary about the Federal Reserve's future intentions following conflicting speeches from regional Fed officials. The German DAX rose 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.6 percent.

U.S. stocks drifted lower for a fourth consecutive session, 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.

by RTT Staff Writer