* Volumes light; U.S. markets shut for half day
* EADS falls on German-French stake plan report
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Nov 23 European stocks steadied on
Friday after reaching a two-week high in the previous session on
investor expectation that an aid deal will be reached for
The FTSEurofirst 300 was trading flat at 1,103.38
by 1207 GMT, having oscillated around Thursday's closing level
during the course of the morning.
Volume on the FTSEurofirst 300 stood at just 22 percent of
its 90-day daily average, and is expected to remain relatively
subdued on Friday given the half-day closure of U.S. markets
"With the volumes low as they are at the moment, and the
fact that the U.S... has a very short trading day today, I
wouldn't expect to see much more upside in equity markets
today," Brenda Kelly, analyst at IG, said.
Not even robust German business sentiment figures managed to
jolt the index significantly higher on Friday, although the
market has seen strong gains in the run-up to the data release.
The FTSEurofirst 300, which climbed to a two-week high on
Thursday, is up 3.4 percent so far this week, set to record its
best weekly performance since early February.
Equity investors were betting on a Greek deal on Monday when
the country's international creditors hold more talks.
A senior Greek government official said on Friday that
Greece's international lenders have agreed on new measures to
cut its debt pile further but it still has to fill a 10 billion
euros gap to gain the IMF's approval.
Question marks remained, however, over whether the market
will manage to end the year on a high note as has almost become
a tradition, with negotiations to avert the U.S. 'fiscal cliff'
of spending cuts and tax rises ongoing.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has notched up a monthly gain in
December 12 times in the last 15 years.
"December is normally pretty good, so you've got that in
your favour, but I do think this fiscal situation in the U.S.
could take the edge off that," Lucy MacDonald, CIO Global
Equities at Allianz Global Investors, which has around 300
billion euros ($386.6 billion) of assets under management.
"At the same time we've also got, in Europe, clearly all the
discussion about fiscal union, about political union, so we've
got a slightly different political environment than we normally
have of a December."
Allianz Global Investors, which has a relatively neutral
stance on equities, would look to buy on weakness.
In a day otherwise light in terms of corporate newsflow,
EADS fell 1.5 percent to near the bottom of the
FTSEurofirst 300 on a German newspaper report saying Germany
plans to buy a 3 percent stake in the Airbus parent from France.
That means Germany will acquire only 1.5 percent of EADS
shares from Daimler, fewer than expected.
"Daimler would then have to sell shares on the market. That
is weighing on the share price because that would be a big
package," a trader said.
Trading volume in EADS was robust, at 71 percent of its
90-day daily average.