* Spreadbetters see DAX, CAC falling at open
* FTSE set to hit a new record high
* Asian trading upbeat
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European shares to begin new year hesitantly (0630 GMT) Good morning and happy new year! Spreadbetters see Germany's DAX opening 41 points lower and France's CAC 40 sliding 8 points at the open on the first trading day of the year, despite generally positive Asian stock markets overnight buoyed by strong manufacturing data from China. The FTSE meanwhile is likely to set a fresh record in early deals - maintaining the momentum of the past few weeks as traders trickle back in after the festive season. "Traders will be looking for clues where big money will park funds for 2018 in the first few days of January," writes Jasper Lawler, analyst at LCG Markets. "We think the price breakout in UK blue-chip stocks means momentum will be in their corner for the opening quarter of 2018."
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Kit Rees and Julien Ponthus)