European markets open higher on 26 September
European markets open higher on 26 September (Reuters).

European markets outside Italy opened higher on 26 September, ahead of the crucial US budget vote in Washington.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index opened 0.1% higher to 313.40.

Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 opened 0.1% higher.

Germany's DAX opened 0.2% higher.

Spain's IBEX 35 was up 0.06% in early trade.

Italy's FTSE MIB was down 0.32% in early trade.

The markets will be following developments surrounding two deadlines in the US -- 1 October and 17 October.

Politicians in the US have until 30 September to decide on how to continue funding the US government, given that the US Treasury Department is expected to hit its $16.7tn borrowing ceiling limit around mid-October. Market analysts say that the Treasury would probably not be able to pay its bills from October onwards.

The US government would shut down on 1 October, if the Republicans and the Democrats fail to reach a funding agreement in time.

The UK will release second quarter GDP data alongside total business investments data for the quarter, during the day.

Market participants in Europe will also be tracking the results of the French consumer confidence survey for the month of September.

In company news, Lloyds of London said its investment returns fell to £247m from £619m in the first half of 2012 and cited "continued challenging economic conditions" for the drop in performance.

Swiss fashion retailer H&M reported a 22% jump in its third quarter net profit, to 4.4bn Swedish kronor (£430m, $690m), on the back of a stronger sales in Asia.

In Asia and the US

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei finished 1.22% higher on 26 September. Australia's S&P/ASX closed 0.35% higher while South Korea's Kospi ended 0.46% higher.

Earlier in Asia, most markets traded higher amid concerns that the US government could shut down on 1 October, if the Republicans and the Democrats failed to reach a funding agreement in time.

In Japan, stocks gained on news that the government could reduce corporate taxes.

Elsewhere, China's Shanghai Composite was pulled down by news that business conditions in the ongoing quarter were worse than what the government had stated in its official reports.

A survey of 2,000 companies, by New York-based China Beige Book International, said growth in the world's second largest economy slowed during the quarter, owing to weak factory and transportation activity. The survey's results run contradictory to official data that pointed to rebounding manufacturing activity.

In India, the Sensex held onto its modest gains. The country's central bank said it could take to bond purchases to ensure there was adequate supply of money for credit flows, ahead of the festival season.

On Wall Street, indices ended lower on 25 September as concerns, about the US government's borrowing limit and the future pace of the Federal Reserve's bond-buying stimulus, weighed on investor sentiment.

The Dow finished 61.33 points lower at 15,273.26, pulled down by Wal-Mart.

The S&P 500 closed 4.65 points lower at 1,692.77, while the Nasdaq ended 7.16 points lower at 3,761.10.

A Bloomberg report said that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, was cutting orders to reduce rising inventory. In response, Walmart said the article "is completely false."

Rival retailers Costco, Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Target were pulled down following the Bloomberg report.