European stocks were seen inching lower on Thursday, adding to this week's sell-off as mounting worries over unrest in Lybia sent U.S. crude oil futures above $100 a barrel, sparking concerns over the impact on global growth.
European shares extended losses into the third straight session on Wednesday, with concerns growing that higher crude prices could erode global growth as investors saw no quick end to the crisis in oil-rich Libya.
The deepening political unrestin Libyahas pushed Brent crude futures to above $110 a barrel, sparking worries a spread of violence to major oil producing countries could result in persistently higher energy prices at the expense of fragile global growth.
France and Germany threatened to hit Libya with EU sanctionsfor Moammar Gaddafi's fierce crackdown on protesters after Italy said the ruler's attempts to crush a revolt have killed as many as 1,000 people. Reuters reported late on Wednesday EU governments had agreed to take further measures against Libya, including santions.
Inflation concerns also flared up once again Wednesday after minutes to the Bank of England's latest meeting showed three out of its nine Monetary Policy Committee members had voted in favor of a rate hike to curb rising prices.
On Thursday, investors will focus on final fourth-quarter GDP figures out of Germany and French consumer confidence numbers.
Also on the agenda is a poll by the Confederation of British Industry on business expectations in the UK service sector.