European shares, euro edge lower

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LONDON - European shares and the euro edged lower on Thursday, as weak corporate earnings reports highlighted the growing impact of the debt crisis in Europe, but moves were limited on talk that central banks could be prompted into action.

Both the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank hold policy meetings next week, heightening speculation over what policies they could use to deal with a slowing world economy and the growing problems of Greece, Spain and Italy.

“We remain gloomy on the euro crisis,” Citi economists said in a report as they raised the likelihood of Greece leaving the euro zone in the next 12-18 months to 90 percent from a 50-75 percent chance previously.

The single currency eased 0.1 percent to $1.2141, but was clear of a two-year low of $1.2042 set earlier in the week.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.1 percent at 1,017.14 in early trading after German engineering conglomerate Siemens posted a 23 percent drop in quarterly new orders. Oil major Royal Dutch Shell also missed forecasts. - Reuters

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