European Shares Set to Fall After US, Asia Slide


European shares looked set to open lower on Friday after a sharp Wall Street drop on Thursday on mortgage market concerns and retail sales data fuelling fears of a U.S. economy in recession.

Financial bookmakers in London expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open between 27 and 29 points lower, Germany's DAX 40 to 49 points lower and France's CAC-40 20 to 32 points lower.

The euro rose to a record-high above 1.54 against the dollar in Asia on Friday, oil held near $104.50 a barrel and gold traded around $982.50 an ounce.

The main focus for financial markets on Friday is U.S. February jobs data due out later in the session, with non-farm payrolls expected to show a rise of 25,000.

On the European corporate earnings front, Telecom Italia reported a 19 percent drop in 2007 net profit and said it plans to slash its dividend in half to divert cash to pay off debt.