European stocks were set for a slight rebound on Thursday after the previous session's sharp retreat but gains were expected to be limited ahead of the European Central Bank's rate decision and after Societe Generale missed forecasts for its first-quarter results.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open around 23 points higher, or up 0.4 percent, Germany's DAX to open 22 to 25 points higher, or as much as 0.3 percent, and France's CAC-40 to open flat to up 1 point.
European shares were hit by recovery worries on Wednesday, weighed by weaker than expected U.S. economic data and concerns over monetary policy tightening in China.
On Thursday, investors will shift their focus to interest rate decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England. Both are expected to leave rates on hold.
German March manufacturing orders are also due.
In Britain, a nationwide referendum on the introduction of a new alternative voting (AV) system will take place.
Britons will be asked if they want to move to an Alternative Vote (AV), under which voters choose candidates in order of preference.
The referendum was one of the key guarantees extracted by the Liberal Democrats, currently part of the UK's coalition government, in return for forming a coalition in May 2010.