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Britain's FTSE down ahead of growth data

Friday, July 25 09:25:44

UK shares edged lower in early trading on Friday, ahead of second quarter GDP data, as investors digested a raft of corporate results and Royal Bank of Scotland enjoyed an unexpected pop from earnings.

Investor sentiment was muted across Europe, held back by disappointing earnings on both sides of the Atlantic and by a third consecutive monthly fall in the widely followed German Ifo survey of business sentiment.

Merger activity also dominated early trading, with BSkyB agreeing to pay 4.9 billion pounds ($8.3 billion) in cash to buy Rupert Murdoch's pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Construction companies Balfour Beatty and Carillion rallied after confirming merger talks.

The FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent, slightly better than Germany's DAX and the French CAC 40, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.2 percent.

A preliminary reading of second quarter British gross domestic product was in focus after the International Monetary Fund this week upgraded its forecasts for the UK economy.

"Today's first iteration of Q2 GDP could well be a good indicator of how well the UK economy is shaping up for the rest of the year," CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said.

(Reuters)

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