European markets little changed, all eyes on U.S.

U.S. must find way of avoiding $600 bln fiscal cliff

European markets little changed, all eyes on U.S.

Milan, December 20 - Markets were little changed in Europe on Thursday, paced by Milan's FTSE MIB index, as investors monitored developments in the US fiscal cliff negotiations. If US lawmakers don't reach a budget accord by the end of 2012, the world's largest economy will face more than $600 billion of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January. A report in the US released on Thursday showed the economy grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, at a higher pace than had been originally reported. US growth was fuelled by government spending as well as increases in consumer spending and a narrowing trade gap with international partners. Italy's Ftse Mib index gained 0.4% to 16,399 points. The yield spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the German benchmark bonds, a barometer of Italy's borrowing costs in the eurozone crisis, closed at 300 points with 10-year yields at 4.4%. The Frankfurt Dax bourse gained 0.1% at 7,672, while the Paris Cac 40 Index was little changed at 3,666 points. Madrid's Ibex index was flat at 8,279 points. London's Ftse-100 stock market fell 0.1% to 5,958 points.

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