Financial spreadbetters expect the leading European benchmark indexes to open flat to slightly higher Thursday, halting a week-long sell-off, but the pause could be short lived as investors fret about a flow of downbeat news from companies.

Spreadbetters expect London's FTSE <.FTSE> to open around 4 points higher, or up 0.1 percent, Frankfurt's DAX <.GDAXI> to open around 10 points higher, or up 0.2 percent, and Paris' CAC- 40 <.FCHI> to open flat.

After the close Wednesday, France's Credit Agricole warned it would post a loss for 2011, and said it would write off 2.5 billion euros (2.1 billion pounds) worth of assets and cut 2,350 jobs in a cull of its investment banking operations.

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)