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The Deal: European, Asian Stocks Trade Cautiously

Stocks in this article: BP GS

LONDON ( The Deal) -- The U.S. government shutdown has been keeping most Asian and European markets in cautious mode again Thursday.

But it wasn't only thing on the minds of investors in Hong Kong overnight. Shares there were up sharply, because of some good figures out of the big casinos in neighboring Macau, and high hopes for consumer spending by mainland Chinese visitors during the country's week-long National Day Holiday this week. The Hang Seng closed up 1% at 23,214.4.

Milan was up again in early trading too, after the Italian government there survived a confidence motion and opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi's authority was further diminished by dissent in his party. And in London, oil major BP (BP) helped drag the market up as investors took in the news of a New Orleans court ruling limiting its liability to compensate businesses for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.

On the M&A front: Italian bank UniCredit has made a preliminary offer for Poland's BGZ Bank, which Polish media said could be worth $1 billion. And Goldman Sachs (GS) and two Danish pension funds are investing about $2 billion in Danish state-owned power utility Dong Energy.

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