European shares edge lower, travel stocks weigh

LONDON, Sept 25 Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:21am EDT

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - European shares edged lower early on Wednesday, with a sharp decline in shares of the world's largest cruise operator, Carnival Corp, dragging down the European travel and leisure sector.

Carnival fell more than 4 percent, the biggest decliner on the FTSEurofirst 300 index and extending falls the previous day, after Exane BNP Paribas and UBS downgraded the stock following a 30 percent fall in third-quarter profit reported on Tuesday.

The STOXX Europe 600 travel and leisure index, down 0.7 percent, was the top sectoral decliner, putting pressure on the FTSEurofirst 300, which fell 0.2 percent to 1,255.30 points by 0711 GMT.

Investors were also cautious about whether U.S. lawmakers would reach an agreement on a spending bill that still faces some resistance.

Congressional authorisation for the government to spend money runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, unless Congress passes a "continuing resolution" to keep it running. Politicians are engaged in serious discussions, but have not yet found a common ground.

U.S. Senate Republicans on Tuesday appeared to fall in line with their leaders who want to pass an emergency spending bill and avoid government shutdowns.

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