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European Stocks Set to Pause after Drop

European stocks were seen mixed on Thursday, taking a breather after starting the year on a weak note on disappointing U.S. economic data that raised concerns over the health of the manufacturing sector, while record high oil prices fuelled inflation worries.

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Financial bookmakers, or spread betters, in London expected Britain's FTSE 100 index to open between 7 and 15 points higher, the German DAX down 1 point to up 5 points and the French CAC 40 down 3 points to up 3 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 1.3 percent on Wednesday, the first session of the year, having ended 2007 up a meagre 1.6 percent in its worst performance since 2002.

Data showed on Wednesday the Institute for Supply Management's index of U.S. factory activity fell to 47.7 from 50.8 in November, well below expectations and the weakest since April 2003. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.