WRAPUP 3-European consumer morale buoyant, UK GDP jumps

* Job prospects seen brighter

* French Oct consumer confidence better than expected

* German GfK morale steady but short of forecasts

* Italian Oct consumer confidence beats forecasts

* French morale perks up in face of strike action

(Adds links, British growth numbers)

By Leigh Thomas

PARIS, Oct 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Consumer morale perked up this
month in strike-plagued France, hit half-year highs in Italy and
stayed buoyant in Europe’s growth engine Germany as concerns
eased about job prospects in the euro zone’s three biggest
economies.

Britain’s economy also grew twice as fast as expected in the
third quarter, boosting a government under fire over steep
spending cuts and potentially delaying more monetary stimulus,
but failing to quell fears of a sharp downturn next year.

Confidence data from the states that together generate more
than two-thirds of the single currency area’s output boosted
hopes its economy will stay resilient through the final quarter
of 2010, brushing off the impact of austerity programmes and a
strong euro as well as lingering sovereign debt concerns.

In France, consumer confidence rose to an eight-month high
in October, confounding forecasts for a slight decline as fewer
households worried about unemployment and against a backdrop of
nationwide protests at pension reforms that have dealt a
glancing blow to the country’s recovery.

Other sentiment indicators this month for Germany have been
strong, pushing back expectations for a slowdown in growth, but
most had also shown others trailing behind in what increasingly
looked like a two-speed recovery.
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German, France sentiment: http://r.reuters.com/bak32q

BREAKINGVIEWS-GDP surprise won’t remove risk of double dip

[ID:nLDE69P0MK]

UK GDP Graphic: http://r.reuters.com/nag32q
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Italian morale rose to levels last seen in April, again
against expectations of a slight decline. [ID:nLDE69P0SO]

Consumer morale going into November in Europe’s top economy
Germany held at its highest level since May 2008, though the
figure fell slightly short of economists’ expectations, a survey
by the GfK market research group showed. [ID:nLDE69P0II]

“In Germany you have consumption which has held up well over
the past few months, supported by the strong jobs market,” said
Natixis economist Sylvain Broyer.

“In France we are seeing a slight uptick based on the fact
that expectations of further deterioration in the job market are
beginning to subside.”

STRIKE IMPACT SEEN LIMITED

France’s national statistics office INSEE’s monthly index of
consumer confidence in the euro zone’s second-largest economy
rose to -34 from an unrevised -35 in September. [ID:nLDE69P0CC]
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a reading of -36.

“In October, (fewer) households … than in September …
anticipate an increase in unemployment,” INSEE said, noting that
the index of joblessness concerns dipped to 43 from 45.

French consumers’ outlook for their personal finances also
improved, rising to -17 from -19 while concerns about inflation
rose to -27 from -30. Goldman Sachs economist Natacha Valla said
that was “consistent with the scenario of a continued recovery.”

France has been hit by a series of oil refinery strikes and
fuel depot blockades this month that have squeezed petrol and
diesel supplies, as unions protest President Nicolas Sarkozy’s
plan to raise the retirement age by two years.

“Obviously, the climate of social tensions that has unfolded
since September does not seem to have fundamentally affected the
gradual path of improvement in confidence,” Valla said.

French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has acknowledged
the strikes and fuel shortages are hurting businesses, but said
on Tuesday she did not expect that to dent the government’s 2010
growth forecast of 1.5 percent. [ID:nLDE69P0JH]

In Italy, research institute ISAE’s main confidence index
rose to 107.7 in October from 107.2 in September and topped
forecasts by analysts polled by Reuters for a reading of 106.8.

“The worst of the economic cycle, also for the job markets,
appears to be behind us. This means that also consumer spending,
which has been stagnant up until now, should see a gradual
pick-up,” said Intesa Sanpaolo economist Paolo Mameli.

In Germany, the forward-looking GfK consumer sentiment
indicator, based on a survey of 2,000 people, held steady at 4.9
for November, unchanged from October, the Nuremberg-based group
said.

The reading undercut a Reuters poll forecast of 5.1 points.

“Consumers’ good mood combined with a significant
improvement on the labour market will provide for a further
stabilisation of domestic demand,” Rolf Buerkl, a researcher for
GfK, said in a statement. “Consumers still expect that the
German economy will continue its recovery.”

Recent data from Europe’s biggest economy has been mostly
bullish, signalling its strong recovery could hold up. (ECONDE: )

The British numbers showed its economy grew 0.8 percent
between July and September, down from a nine-year high of 1.2
percent in the second quarter but twice the 0.4 percent most
economists had expected.

Investors reckoned the above-trend growth might mean the
Bank of England would struggle to justify an expansion of its
“quantitative easing” to support the economy.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by John Stonestreet and
Patrick Graham)

WRAPUP 3-European consumer morale buoyant, UK GDP jumps