French consumer confidence holds at four-year high, but Greece's failed bid for a debt deal is souring the mood for traders - and others - across European markets. David Pollard reports.
The mood was already nervous as the first news flashes emerged. An attack bearing the hallmarks of Islamist militants. First details saying at least one person killed at a gas plant in southeast France belonging to US-based industrial gases company Air Products. After 17 people died in February's Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, it adds to jitters, says IG's Chris Beauchamp. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: ''It underlines security concerns that exist in Europe at the moment, and arguably that can translate through to a bit of investor uncertainty, but obviously Greece is the main story at the moment.'' And the main story despite signs of improvement elsewhere in the euro zone. After stronger growth numbers earlier this week, French consumer confidence came in at stable this month at 94 - for the third month in a row at the highest level since November 2010. Greece, though, the main driver as investors sought to cut their exposure. Earlier, Germany's DAX opened over half a per cent lower. Stefan Scharffetter of Baader Bank. (SOUNDBITE) (German) BAADER BANK HEAD OF SECURITISED DERIVATIVES , STEFAN SCHARFFETTER, SAYING: "It appears that the final decision will be made this coming weekend so we can count on a very turbulent Monday, depending on the outcome. The DAX will either shoot up or fall heavily." Depending of course on whether last-ditch euro zone talks on Saturday strike a deal - or not. New Democracy Party member, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is among Greek opposition figures demanding the government back down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY LAWMAKER, KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, SAYING: "What we need is a deal - even if it is clearly not going to be the best possible deal for the country. Mr. Tsipras could have gotten a much better deal several months ago. He chose to take this negotiation to its very end and we currently only have a few hours or maximum a few days left." That's not a sentiment held by radical leftist protesters who took to the streets of Athens. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PROTESTER, ARGIRI EROTOKRITOU, SAYING: "It's enormous blackmail from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, and we think the course Greece must follow is to break away." Either way, markets, investors and negotiators are talking of a last chance for a Greek deal. And this time, most even appear to believe that themselves.