* Futures up across major European benchmarks
* FTSE futures weaker
* Manufacturing PMIs in focus
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Futures point to upbeat start to 2018 trading (0706 GMT)
Contrary to spreadbetters' indications earlier, futures have opened higher for the euro zone's leading STOXX 50 index as well as the DAX and CAC. The FTSE meanwhile looks set for a slightly weaker open with futures trading down 0.1 percent after having finished 2017 with a series of new record highs.
Manufacturing data to point to sustained economic growth (0655 GMT)
European manufacturing PMIs at 0900 GMT will deliver the first datapoint investors will be watching as a harbinger of whether the region's impressive economic growth is likely to be sustained and continue supporting stocks. "We think the PMIs have been a little too high recently, especially in manufacturing which points to GDP growth of 1.3% quarter-on-quarter in Q4," write Societe Generale analysts. They reckon Spanish PMIs may take the hit from the Catalonian crisis, while Italy's reading of manufacturing activity is likely to rise. The UK manufacturing PMI (out at 0930 GMT) has been surprisingly strong recently. "As with the CBI survey, we see no obvious reason for short-term weakening but, compared to that survey, the surge in the PMI looks a little extreme so we expect a small fall to 57.5, more as a consolidation than a genuine weakening," they write. Below you can see the FTSE's surge in December - up 5.3 percent over the month - boosted by rising metals prices.
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)