Europe shares trim gains; France downgrade speculation weighs
PARIS, Sept 19 (Reuters) - European shares trimmed their gains in afternoon trade on Friday, with traders citing mounting expectation of an imminent credit downgrade of France that pulled the Paris blue-chip index into negative territory.
At 1216 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,402.27 points, after gaining nearly 1 percent in a relief rally after Scotland spurned independence in a referendum.
France's CAC 40 was down 0.2 percent.
"There is talk of a downgrade that could come tonight," said Alexandre Baradez, chief market analyst at IG France.
"Traders are tempted to book profits ahead of the weekend."
Spain's IBEX trimmed gains, but was still up 0.1 percent, after the president of the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, Artur Mas, said he would sign a decree law to call a Nov. 9 vote on independence from Spain.
Madrid's bourse had outperformed in early trade as markets viewed Scotland's "No" vote as having reduced prospects of a stronger push for a breakaway in Catalonia. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Lionel Laurent)
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