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European stocks muted as U.S. debt ceiling concerns linger

German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sruthi Shankar and Ankika Biswas

(Reuters) -European stocks were flat on Monday as investors awaited the outcome of U.S. debt ceiling talks while assessing monetary policy outlook in the United States and Europe, with UK's Dechra Pharmaceuticals slumping after a profit warning.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was largely unchanged, after touching a more than one-year high on Friday. Germany's blue-chip DAX dropped 0.3% after hitting an all-time high in the prior session.

President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy were set to meet on Monday to discuss raising the federal government's debt ceiling, just 10 days before the United States could face an unprecedented default.

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"There's always the risk that despite the positive developments, those negotiations might fall apart at the last minute and that's what markets are concerned about," said Andrea Cicione, head of research at TS Lombard.

Meanwhile, French ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau noted that European Central Bank interest rate hikes are likely to peak out by summer's end, but the issue was how long rates remained elevated rather than the exact level.

On the other hand, ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane flagged that the central bank's policy was effective and investors appeared to remain confident in the bank's ability to bring inflation back to its 2% target.

On the data front, euro zone consumer confidence rose by 0.1 point in May from the previous month.

European chip stocks were unfazed by China's move to bar U.S. firm Micron Technology Inc from selling memory chips to key domestic industries.

Shares of STMicroelectronics NV and ASM International NV were up 0.7% and 1.9%, respectively.

"Although the news is negative for sector sentiment given that China represents between 10% and 40% of sales for most companies..., we cannot make a general statement as U.S. memories are fungible with Korean ones (Samsung, Hynix) while other products are not," Equita analysts wrote in a note.

Greek government bond prices outperformed their peers on Monday as investors welcomed the outcome of a national election they expect will lead to a continuation of policies supporting economic growth and declining debt.

Among single stocks, Dechra Pharmaceuticals tanked 13% to the bottom of the STOXX 600 on expectations that annual profit would be below its prior forecast, amid a volatile environment and ongoing de-stocking by its wholesalers.

Ryanair rose 1.3% as CEO Michael O'Leary aims to boost the budget airline's profit by 10% this year after almost record earnings for its last financial year. He said Ryanair might do better if rival airlines' "irrationally exuberant" summer fare forecasts were correct.

Novo Nordisk A/S climbed 2.6% after a late-stage trial of an oral version of its drug semaglutide for weight loss showed statistically significant and superior weight loss when compared to a placebo.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K, Eileen Soreng and Mark Heinrich)