* Volumes light; U.S. markets shut for half day
* EADS slides on German-French stake plan report
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Nov 23 European stocks traded flat on
Friday, pausing after reaching a two week high in the previous
session, as investors awaited news on a deal for debt-stricken
The FTSEurofirst 300 was flat at 1,103.91 by 1035
GMT, having oscillated around Thursday's closing level
throughout the course of the morning.
Volume on the FTSEurofirst 300 stood at just 16 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
"Markets always suffer from very low volumes at this time of
year during the Thanksgiving holiday and very, very narrow
trading ranges, and I wouldn't be surprised if the market just
hovers around these levels for the remainder of the day," Angus
Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, 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 is on course to record its best week in
about 10 months on optimism that a funding deal for Greece is
The pan-European index climbed to a two-week high on
Thursday and is up 3.4 percent so far this week in the aftermath
of two weekly declines, set to record its best weekly
performance since early February.
Equity investors were putting their bets on a likely deal
for Greece on Monday when the country's international creditors
hold more talks, and that negotiations to avert the U.S. 'fiscal
cliff' of spending cuts and tax rises will prove successful.
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.
"I think sentiment has become a little bit too negative in
the short-run as probably there will be some kind of deal for
the U.S. fiscal cliff... and we see possibly that we are moving
towards a deal for Greece," Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity
strategy at Baader Bank, said.
"From a seasonal perspective December and January have been
quite decent months in the past, so I would not be too surprised
if we see a good development in equities over the next couple of
The FTSEurofirst 300 has notched up a monthly gain in
December 12 times in the last 15 years.
In a day otherwise light in terms of corporate newsflow,
EADS fell 2.3 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.