European shares were set to open higher on Thursday, tracking strong gains in Asia and the United States driven by positive economic data, while investors prepared to wade into a big earnings day.
Bookmakers expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open up 28 to 34 points, Germany's DAX up 46 to 56 points and France's CAC up 26 to 34 points, making for gains of 0.6-0.8 percent.
U.S. stocks rose overnight on a surprise gain in January retail sales, while Japanese shares were up 4 percent after data showed the economy grew twice as fast as expected in the final quarter of 2007.
The diary featured a large number of corporate results, including those from UBS, Commerzbank and Daimler.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson were due to testify on the state of the U.S. economy and financial markets before the Senate Banking Committee later in the session.