European Stocks Set to Fall; Results, Rates Eyed

European shares were seen opening sharply lower on Thursday, tracking markets in the United States and Asia, as credit fears intensified.

Bookmakers in London called Britain's FTSE 100 to open down 74 to 81 points, Germany's DAX down 84 to 91 points and France's CAC down 50 to 81 points, making for falls of as much as 1.2 to 1.4 percent.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Wednesday as a probe of the home loan industry drew in the country's top mortgage finance companies and Washington Mutual warned that the housing downturn would extend well into next year.

Asian stocks were also sharply lower.

Investors in Europe have plenty to chew on, with a flurry of results from heavyweights across the continent, and later in the day, two rate decisions, from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.

Both banks are widely expected to keep interest rates steady.