- US thrash out debt ceiling deal
- UK unemployment rate unchanged, jobless claims fall
- Eurozone inflation holds steady
- Europe car sales rise
FTSE 100: 0.34%
CAC 40: -0.29%
FTSE MIB: 1.45%
IBEX 35: 0.75%
Stoxx 600: 0.23%
European stocks were broadly higher as the US began a last-ditch effort to thrash out a deal on raising the country's borrowing limit.
US lawmakers scrambled to lock down an agreement before the government hits its $16.7trn debt ceiling tomorrow.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were negotiating a proposal that would fund federal agencies through January 15th and extend the debt ceiling through February 7th.
The proposed deal would also include a December 15th deadline for a budget conference report.
Speaker John Boehner was considering letting the House take the initial vote on the proposal today.
Many economists are saying it could be a case of "kicking the can down the road". However, it will avoid the worst scenarios including a government default.
Some market estimates say the government could run out of cash to pay its bills at some point between October 22nd and November 1st.
Acting as a backdrop, one-month T-bill rates are now at their highest since 2008, at 0.33%
Fitch Ratings said the US was heading for a possible downgrade from its AAA credit rating due to the stalemate.
However, as Alpari Market Analyst Craig Erlam pointed out: "Clearly investors are not taking that threat seriously right now, which they could pay the price for further down the road I'd say contributing to this false sense of security is the Fed's bond buying programme, with investors confident that once a deal is done, equity markets will continue their liquidity fuelled move higher."
UK jobs data, Eurozone CPI
The UK unemployment rate held steady in the three months to August at 7.7%, in line with forecasts, the Office for National Statistics revealed.
The Bank of England has vowed to maintain interest rates at the current low of 0.5% until the unemployment rate falls below 7%, which is not expected for another three years.
Wednesday's employment data also showed jobless claims fell by 41,700 in September, the most in 16 years and beating expectations for a drop of 25,000.
August was revised to show a decline of 41,600, compared to an initially reported fall of 32,600.
Eurozone inflation remained unchanged at 1.1% in September, as predicted - its lowest in three and a half years - the European Union's statistics office Eurostat revealed.
Europe car sales rose 5.5% to 1.19m vehicles in September, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Hargreaves Lansdown, Danone
Hargreaves Lansdown was leading the FTSE 100 today after reports it gained 20,000 new clients on the back of the Royal Mail flotation.
Danone declined after lowering its full-year targets as the fall-out from a recall of baby-milk products in Asia had a bigger impact than expected.
Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy's shares
slumped after reporting a slowdown in third-quarter sales growth.
IMI rallied after the British engineering company agreed to sell its Beverage Dispense and Merchandising divisions to Marmon Group.
Video game developer Ubisoft retreated after reducing its full-year sales expectations due to the delay of The Crew and Watch Dogs, two of its next generation titles.
Publicis tumbled after the French ad group reported easing of third quarter sales growth because of a temporary slowdown in China, economic difficulties that hurt investment in India and underperformance in Russia.
Brent crude falls
Brent crude futures were down $0.435 to $110.440.
The euro rose 0.28% to $1.3486