European shares were expected to fall at the open on Thursday, tracking overnight losses in U.S. and Asian stocks, as investors braced for a key U.S. economic release.
Financial bookmakers expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open down 18 to 23 points, Germany's DAX down 28 points and France's CAC 40 to shed 13 to 19 points.
Results from the likes of Raiffeisen International Bank, H&M Hennes & Mauritz and Swiss Life Holding are due.
Data showing a tumble in orders for U.S.-manufactured goods on Wednesday revived concerns that the economy is already in recession while bank stocks took a hit when a prominent analyst lowered her first-quarter profit forecasts for various major U.S. banks.
U.S. core PCE data for the fourth quarter, the Fed's favorite inflation gauge, is due at 1230 GMT and will come in focus after last week's steep 75-basis-point U.S. rate cut.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 0.6 percent at 1,258.48 points in the previous session, dragged by a drop in Xstrata after takeover talks with Brazil's Vale collapsed.