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September 20, 2013
European shares steadied in early on Friday, with investors consolidating trading positions after a rally drove markets to five year highs a day earlier on the U.S. central bank's decision to delay a cut in stimulus. At 0708 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 % at 1,264.50 points after hitting its highest level since mid-2008 in the previous session. It nevertheless remained on track for a third straight week of gains.

Mining shares were the top decliners, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index falling 0.4 %, tracking a decline in major industrial metals.

Adidas fell more than 5 % to become the top decliner on the FTSEurofirst 300 in heavy volume after the German sports apparel maker warned on 2013 profit.

Analysts said investors' focus would shift to U.S. budget negotiations, which have the potential to keep markets choppy.

Washington faces twin deadlines, with a budget deal needed by Sept. 30 to avoid a federal government shutdown and a separate agreement necessary by mid-October to prevent the United States from defaulting on its national debt.

"The inability to accomplish either of these would bring government spending (in) areas such as defence and healthcare to a standstill, whilst the debt limit alone has the potential to push the U.S. treasury into default considering the ongoing fiscal obligations," Joshua Mahony, analyst at Alpari, said.