European shares dip

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European stocks weakened on Monday, extending last week's steep falls, as growing concerns over Greece overshadowed robust Chinese macro data.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was down 0.2 percent at 1,095.42 by 10:12 SA time, having dropped 1.6 percent last week.

Euro zone finance ministers will meet in Brussels later on Monday to discuss whether to release a new tranche of funding to Greece. They are not expected to release the new funding despite Greece approving a tough 2013 budget over the weekend, as there is no agreement yet on how to make its debt sustainable.

This was offset by numbers out of China, showing its export growth climbed to a five-month high above 11 percent, beating expectations and adding to recent data suggesting the country's seven straight quarters of slowing economic growth have ended.

“Markets will probably be capped on the upside - but with a positive bias,” said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank.

“We saw another set of constructive figures from China... (but) there's also the euro zone finance minister meeting likely not to take any concrete steps (on Greece).” - Reuters

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