European shares were predicted to edge up slightly at Thursday’s open, as reports overnight from Athens suggested the Greek government and its creditors had finally reached a deal.
The FTSE 100 was called lower by 8 points, the DAX up by 23 points, and the CAC 40 up 11 points.
Chinese inflation figures for January, released Thursday morning, showed a higher-than-expected annual inflation rate of 4.5 percent, which could dampen the stock market rally by raising concerns about a hard landing in China.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said late Thursday night that the main Greek political parties had settled all other issues apart from pensions, and would aim to overcome the remaining hurdle before euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels Thursday evening.
The European Central Bank is widely expected to leave interest rates on hold on Thursday, ahead of a second round of long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) from the bank on February 29.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is also expected to keep rates on hold at its monthly meeting Thursday morning.
The markets will be watching ECB President Mario Draghi’s press conference after the meeting for any signs of whether the central bank will take a haircut to the value of the Greek government bonds it holds.
There are a slew of earnings results expected, with full-year results from Credit Suisse, Diageo, Rio Tinto, Dassault Systemes, Publicis and ING Group amongst others. Credit Suisse will spark particular interest after UBS’s disappointing results earlier this week.
In the U.S., weekly jobless claims are awaited anxiously after a better-than-expected January employment report. Traders will be watching for any signs that the U.S. economy is rebounding.