European Shares Seen Flat Despite Upbeat China Data

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( - European stocks look set to open largely unchanged on Thursday despite positive cues from Asia after manufacturing data out of China surprised on the upside.

Benchmark U.S. crude futures rose about 1.5 percent above $50 a barrel in Asian deals after climbing more than 9 percent overnight as the oil cartel OPEC agreed to reduce production by about 1.2 million barrels to 32.5 million barrels a day.

The agreement marks the first time since 2008 that OPEC has agreed to curtail production. Non-OPEC Russia is also joining output cuts for the first time in 15 years.

China's official manufacturing PMI stood at 51.7 in November, up from 51.2 in October and showing expansion for the fourth straight month. The latest reading marks the highest level seen since July 2014.

While the non-manufacturing PMI rose to 54.7 from 54 in October, the Caixin manufacturing PMI fell to 50.9 from 51.2 in October, staying out of contractionary territory for a fifth straight month.

Asian stocks are rising across the board, with Japanese shares leading regional gains. The dollar hit a 9-1/2-month high versus the yen as the rally in oil prices stoked inflation expectations.

Gold dropped to its lowest level in nearly 10 months as encouraging U.S. private payrolls, personal income and spending, pending home sales and the Beige Book reports bolstered the case for gradual policy tightening.

Today's economic calendar remains relatively heavy, with investors awaiting PMI reports from major European economies, U.K. house price data and U.S. reports on weekly jobless claims, manufacturing activity and construction spending for further direction.

U.S. stocks closed mostly lower overnight despite OPEC members agreeing to cut production and President-elect Donald Trump's
pick for treasury secretary, billionaire Steve Mnuchin
, talking about tax cuts and reform to bring back growth. The Dow inched up marginally while the S&P 500 dropped 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 1.1 percent.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.3 percent on Wednesday, as oil prices rebounded from a two-week low and Linde said it is reviewing a revised proposal from Praxair Inc. to restart merger talks.

ECB President Mario Draghi
said in an interview with Spanish daily El País that euro-zone inflation is expected to return to the ECB's target of near 2 percent between 2018 and 2019. The German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 both edged up by 0.2 percent while France's CAC 40 index rose 0.6 percent.

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Referenced Symbols: LNEGY , PX

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