By Julien Ponthus
LONDON (Reuters) - UK shares were only slightly lower in morning trading on Friday while bourses on the continent sustained steeper losses after the Italian government set a higher than expected budget deficit target that could put Rome on a collision course with Brussels.
The blue chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> was down 0.1 percent at 0823 GMT while the benchmark Euro zone index STOXX 50<.STOXX50E> was losing 0.8 percent and the Milan stock market <.FTMIB> 2.4 percent.
"The FTSE actually didn’t do too badly after the bell", wrote Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex, noting that "the UK index is only a handful of points away from 7550, and looks set to end September at a 4 week peak".
The FTSE is currently on course to post a monthly 1.3 percent gain.
Financials weighed the most with RSA Insurance Group
Britain's insurers have taken a beating from a run of volatile weather, with the hottest summer in living memory following a blast of icy weather earlier in the year dubbed the "Beast from the East".
"Good numbers from EasyJet, with profits for the full year seen at the top end of guidance, but doubts about 2019 have weighed on the stock this morning", wrote Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
Shares in Britain's United Utilities
Ireland's Smurfit Kappa
Amid smaller companies, British outsourcing company Serco
(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)