UK Markets close in 2 hrs 20 mins

LIVE MARKETS-It's also getting busy with earnings

* European shares seen flat to slightly lower

* Last-gasp Brexit deal set to dominate EU summit

* Asian shares pause after 5-day rally

* Earnings in focus: Nestle, Ericsson, Pernod Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net


IT'S ALSO GETTING BUSY WITH EARNINGS (0552 GMT)

Besides Brexit, investors will also have to digest a number of earnings updates.

On top of this mornings' list so far we have food giant Nestle which announced a new share buyback programme of up to 20 billion Swiss francs after organic sales growth slowed slightly to 3.7% in the third quarter.

Growth also slowed for Pernod Ricard, which is being targeted by activist investor Elliott. The French spirits maker posted a 1.3% rise in first-quarter underlying sales, reflecting slower growth rates in China and India.

Telecoms equipment maker Ericsson instead posted quarterly core earnings far ahead of market expectations and lifted its 2020 sales target citing a stronger market and currency effects.

Still in telco world, we have another solid-looking update. Telia Company posted third-quarter core earnings just above expectations on Thursday and repeated its forecast for 2019.

Meanwhile in autos, car parts group Faurecia kept its 2019 guidance for higher operating profits and margins as it posted an increase in third-quarter sales.

There is more to come later on and we'll keep you updated, while over in the U.S. heavyweights of the caliber Morgan Stanley and Philip Morris are due to report.

(Danilo Masoni)

*****

EUROPE ON THE EDGE WITH BREXIT DEAL IN FOCUS (0533 GMT)

No fireworks are expected at the open today as investors eagerly await that the EU and Britain work out a Brexit deal during a two-day summit in Brussels .

It seems we're really close to the parties coming to a sort of agreement over the UK's Oct 31 divorce from the EU but then Britain's PM Boris Johnson will have to win approval at home by parliament which gathers for a special session on Saturday. And that looks all but certain.

"... the truth is, even if the leaders came to an agreement among themselves, there is only a slim chance for Boris Johnson to find sufficient support in Parliament to give it a green light," says Ipek Ozkardeskaya, Senior Market Analyst at LCG in London.

Spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 2 points higher at 7,170, Frankfurt's DAX to open 12 points lower at 12,658 and Paris' CAC to open 4 points lower at 5,693.

Over in Asia, stocks paused after a five-day rally as soft U.S. retail sales data raised fears about the health of the world's largest economy, while Brexit deal hopes kept sterling volatile.

(Danilo Masoni)

***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Josephine Mason, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)