European shares inch up early; Unilever sinks
* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.2 pct, Euro STOXX 50 up 0.5 pct
* Unilever sinks after warning about emerging markets
* Timing of U.S. data at issue after shutdown
By Blaise Robinson
PARIS, Oct 1 (Reuters) - European shares rose in early trade on Tuesday, bouncing from three-week lows in the previous session, although gains were limited by a partial shutdown of the U.S. government.
Food and beverage stocks featured among the top losers, hurt by Unilever's warning that a slowdown in its emerging markets had accelerated in the third quarter.
Unilever dropped 3.8 percent, while Heineken fell 1.3 percent and AB Inbev lost 1.5 percent.
At 0730 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,250.09 points. The index has lost 1.9 percent since hitting a 5-year high two weeks ago.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 0.5 percent at 2,906.81 points.
The U.S. Congress missed a deadline on Monday for an agreement on a spending bill and federal agencies were directed to cut back services, potentially putting up to 1 million workers on unpaid leave.
The impasse fuelled speculation about the timing of U.S. data releases.
"The data flow will be disrupted, with Friday's labour market report at risk if the shutdown lasts more than a day or two and all other government data releases likely to be suspended," Daiwa Capital Markets said in a note.
It also sparked longer-term concerns over whether Congress will meet a mid-October deadline to raise the country's debt-ceiling limit.
"We've been there before, and there was always a solution at the end," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities.
"Looking at the sharp rise in 'puts' last week, investors have well anticipated this. The question now is how long it will last and could it revive worries of a credit downgrade?"
Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was down 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX index up 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40 up 0.5 percent.
"The U.S. shutdown is a central point for the markets, but as long as the hope for just a temporary shutdown exists, it will not be a strong burden for equities," Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich, said.
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