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European Shares Set For Weak Start


European stocks are set to open lower on Friday after U.S. Senate Republicans delayed voting on their tax bill and a private survey showed that activity in China's vast manufacturing sector fell in November to the weakest pace in five months.

Also, media reports suggest that the White House is considering a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship has been strained by the top U.S. diplomat's softer line on North Korea and other differences.

Asian markets gave up early gains to turn mixed as investors awaited the U.S. Senate's vote on tax reform legislation.

The manufacturing sector in China continued to expand in November, albeit at a slower pace, the latest survey from Caixin showed today with a PMI score of 50.8. That's down from 51.0 in October.

Treasury yields got a boost from positive U.S. economic data and the dollar traded mixed against major rivals, while crude oil prices extended overnight gains after OPEC and its allies outside the group agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

Purchasing Managers' survey data from the U.K. is due later today, with economists expecting the corresponding index to rise to 56.5 in November from 56.3 in October.

Overnight, U.S stocks hit fresh record closing highs as the Senate tax cut plan moved closer to passage and data on jobless claims, personal income and spending added to optimism about the economy.

The Dow jumped 1.4 percent to finish above 24,000 points for the first time, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.8 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.7 percent.

European markets ended Thursday's choppy session lower despite broad-based gains in the banking sector. The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index eased 0.3 percent.

The German DAX slid 0.3 percent, France's CAC 40 index shed half a percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.9 percent.

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