European shares were set to rise on Wednesday, after President Barack Obama stressed a need to lower corporate tax rates, and after Wall Street pared losses on optimism for the reporting season as most companies beat estimates.
European shares fell on Tuesday, as confidence in Britain was shaken by an unexpected drop in fourth-quarter UK growth figures and with Spanish banks down on concerns new capital requirement rules may not be tough enough.
The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee releases the minutes of its last meeting on Wednesday, providing investors with clues on the bank's expectations for economic growth in the UK.
Britain's economy suffered a shock 0.5 percent contractionin the last three months of 2010 after December's heavy snowtook a far harsher toll than economists had forecast, official data showed on Tuesday.
The European Financial Stability Facility, the 440 billion euro fund being used to bail out Ireland, launched its debut bond issue on Tuesday with demand dwarfing the 5 billion euros on offer.