Euro Stocks Look Lower Ahead of Summit, 'Rage' Day
European shares look set for a lower open on Friday ahead of Saudi Arabia's "Day of Rage" and the European Union Summit in Brussels.
According to BGC Partners, the UK's FTSE 100 index will fall 11 points to 5,830, while France's CAC index will open 13 points lower at 3,951, and Germany's DAX index will fall 33 points to 7,030.
European shares fell to their lowest closing level so far this year on Thursday, on sovereign debt and economic recovery concerns. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 1.1 percent lower at 1,131.78 points.
Traders will keep a close eye on developments in Saudi Arabia Friday when a "day of rage" is expected to take place, with protesters demanding an elected ruler, greater freedom for women and the release of political prisoners.
The top OPEC producer holds more than a fifth of world's oil reserves and unrest in the country is likely to send oil prices higher and stocks lower.
European sovereign debt will also be on investors' radars at the end of a week which saw several more downgradesfor peripheral European countries struggling with high debt levels.
Euro zone leaders meet in Brussels Friday to discuss the bloc's debt crisis amid continuing fears over the health of the Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and Irish economies.
They will also discuss an overhaul of the EU emergency fund, which is expected to be high on the agenda at the March 24-25 gathering of all EU leaders.
The heads of state are also expected to discuss the situation in Libya.
NATO defense ministers also meet for a second day in Brussels to discuss the organization's response to the violence in Libya.
Later in the day, tech investors will be on the lookout for details on sales of Apple's new iPad 2 which is available in the US from Friday.
The original iPad tablet device launched last year and has sold 15 million units so far, but this new version is thinner and lighter, and has a faster processor as well as front and rear cameras. The iPad 2 goes on sale in the UK on March 25.