European shares were expected to fall on Thursday, tracking overnight losses in U.S. stock markets, as financial sector woes came back to the fore with Credit Suisse announcing further write-downs.
Plunging gold and oil prices drove U.S. stocks lower on Wednesday, along with speculation that Merrill Lynch may need to take more write-downs. Renewed credit crisis fears also sent Asian markets outside Japan down, as Japanese markets were closed for a national holiday.
Financial bookmakers in London were calling the UK's FTSE 100 index 84 to 87 points lower, Germany's DAX index down 86 to 91 points and France's CAC 40 85 to 92 points lower.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.9 percent on Wednesday, led lower mainly by technology and telecom stocks.
The dollar firmed against the euro, propped up by sliding gold and oil prices.