RTTNews - The European markets fell for the second day on Thursday after Diageo said the coming year will be challenging and Dexia reported a drop in second quarter profit.

The U.S. Labor Department said that initial jobless claims edged down to 570,000 in the week ended August 22nd from the previous week's revised figure of 580,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to slip to 565,000 from the 576,000 originally reported for the previous month.

The U.S. Commerce Department said in a report that the country's GDP contracted at an annual rate of 1.0% in the second quarter, unchanged from the 1.0 % decrease originally reported in late July. Economists had been expecting GDP to be revised to show a decrease of 1.5%.

Crude for October delivery fell $0.64 to $70.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, on signs of faltering crude demand in the U.S., the world's biggest energy consumer.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.54% lower at 968.67 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index fell 0.28% to 2,394.84 points.

Around Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index fell 0.43% to 4,869.35, while France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.54% to 3,648.53 and Germany's DAX index dropped 0.94% to 5,470.33.

Diageo, the world's largest liquor maker, slipped 4.1% after the company said although the global economy appears to be stabilizing, there is still uncertainty as to the sustainability and pace of any recovery and fiscal 2010 will be challenging. The company said it expects to deliver low single digit organic operating profit growth in fiscal 2010.

Dexia dropped 7.8% after the lender reported second quarter profit that fell from last year.

Bayer, Germany's biggest drugmaker, fell 4.1% on concerns that peer Boehringer Ingelheim may report strong data about its rival drug to Bayer's anti-blood-clotting pill Xarelto.

Mining stocks edged lower after copper prices declined. Anglo American, the world's second biggest miner, fell 1.3% and Xstrata, the world's fourth largest copper producer, slipped 4.1% and Antofagasta, which owns some copper miners in Chile, lost 1.5%.

Among the gainers, Credit Agricole, France's third largest bank, rose 3.7% after the company reported second quarter profit that increased from last year and beat analysts' estimate.

Accor, Europe's biggest hotelier, climbed 5.7% after the company said it is studying spinning off its service-voucher unit.

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