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The Deal: European, Asian Stocks Slip Further

LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks ventured further into negative territory on Friday, with investors looking to the direction of U.S. trading later Friday to lift them out of the doldrums.

Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney is due just after noon London time to deliver a speech in which he is expected to back away from the central bank's five-month-old policy of using the U.K.'s unemployment rate as a key indicator when determining interest rate policy. In doing so he will likely reassure investors that rates won't rise any time soon.

After European markets close, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will address a meeting in Davos  and investors will be eyeing his comments for monetary policy hints after the ECB slashed the benchmark rate to 0.25% in November.

In London, the FTSE was down 0.31% at 6,752.04, having closed lower in the past three trading sessions. In Frankfurt, the DAX slipped 0.39% to 9,594,74 and in Paris, the CAC 40 shed 0.52% of its value to stand at 4,258.77 by late morning.

Stuttgart, Germany drugs wholesaler and pharmacies operator Celesio rose after San Francisco health care company McKesson (MCK) secured more than 75% of its target  less than two weeks after a sweetened 6.4 billion euros ($8.7 billion) bid failed when small shareholders, seemingly inspired by the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp.'s  maneuvering and looking for a squeeze-out premium, didn't tender sufficient stock to give McKesson the 75% of Celesio it needed. Celesio was trading  above the 23.50 euros per share McKesson offered majority shareholder Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH for the stock by late morning.
 
In London, Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) largely shrugged off a ratings downgrade by Investec. Analyst Ian Gordon cited "frothy" 2013 earnings expectations, the risk the bank will have to dig deeper to compensate consumers for "missold" payment protection insurance and expectations the state will cut its 30%-odd holding further as early as February among the reasons for his downgrade to hold from buy. But Gordon said he's not overly worried about Labor leader Ed Miliband's threat to force Britain's top banks to sell off branches if his party comes to power next year.

In Hong Kong, Lenovo ended the day up a modest 1.1% -- but was nevertheless the biggest riser  on the Hang Seng -- after trading in the shares resumed following its announcement Thursday of its $2.3 billion server unit purchase from IBM (IBM).

The Hang Seng closed down 1.25% at 22,450.06, and in Tokyo the Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.94% to end the week at 15,391.96.

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