European shares are expected to open lower on Thursday, pausing after a Federal Reserve-induced rally, as investor focus shifts back to corporate results.
After Tuesday's larger-than-expected U.S. rate cut, analysts will also be watching Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony on the subprime crisis before a House financial services committee.
Commentators warned that the bigger-than-expected Fed rate cut is likely to be the last for some time. "Within the statement is hardly the ringing endorsement of the confirmed swing to an easing policy bias evident in the Fed's aggressive move in January 2001. In short, pricing further near-term rate reductions looks wrong, which may temper equity euphoria," said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, head of equity research at Charles Stanley Stockbrokers.
Macro data due out this session include U.K. retail sales.
Bookmakers see Britain's FTSE 100 opening down 17 points, Germany's DAX down 39-41 points and France's CAC down 25-39 points.