PARIS Dec 27 European shares steadied early on
Thursday in their first trading session following the Christmas
break, with investors focusing on Washington's last-ditch
efforts to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
At 0808 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,136.82 points.
With significant tax hikes and spending cuts set to be
triggered next week, Republican House of Representatives speaker
John Boehner urged the Democrat-controlled Senate to act to pull
back from the cliff and offered to at least consider any bill
the upper chamber produced.
"There is still hope for a last-minute deal, otherwise we're
in for a correction in January. People have already priced in an
agreement. Without it, the market can't stay at these levels," a
Paris-based trader said.
Banking shares lost ground, while stocks in miners rose
along with base metal prices, boosted by renewed optimism about
China's economic growth.
Rio Tinto added 0.9 percent and BHP Billiton
gained 0.8 percent.