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Europe open: Shares lower on Wall St losses, UK govt borrowing figures

(Sharecast News) - European shares opened lower on Thursday, tracking losses on Wall Street overnight as trading started to wind down for the Christmas break. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.35% at 476.29 in early deals with all major bourses lower. Investors and traders are looking ahead to a gross domestic product imndex reading from the US later on Thursday, along with the the personal consumption expenditures price index - a closely followed gauge of inflation.

Economists expect the US economy to post 5.2% year-on-year growth in the third quarter, while the personal consumption expenditures price index is expected to climb 2.3% in the same period.

In Britain, official figures showed government borrowing excluding public sector banks came in at £14.3bn. This was below November 2022's £15.2bn but above consensus forecasts of £13bn. It also marked the fourth highest November borrowing since monthly records began in 1993.

Debt interest payments for November surpassed all monthly November figures on record since 1997, coming in at £7.7bn.

"UK markets are unlikely to take any comfort from the news that November's UK budget deficit of £14.3bn was £1.4bn ahead of consensus. This may also limit messrs Sunak and Hunt's wiggle room to hand out further sweetners ahead of elections expected next year. The FTSE 100 has opened back below 7,700 after posting a 1% gain yesterday," said Derren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"This follows the biggest day of losses since October for US indices. With broad based falls across all sectors there was little shelter for traders. Both the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 were down 1.5%. The move was driven by relatively light trading volumes. With the US markets still at close to record highs, this optimism is showing signs of fragility."

On a day thin on any major corporate news, Vodafone shares made small gains on a report that Swisscom is weighing a possible offer for the telecom operator's Italian business next year.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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