European investors were set to press the pause button on a two-day share rally on Thursday, tracking U.S. stock markets that slipped after the Federal Reserve said a recession was possible.
Asian markets were broadly stronger, however, suggesting that any losses would be modest.
Bookmakers expected Britain's FTSE to open down 8-24 points, Germany's DAX down 4-16 points and France's CAC down 11-17 points.
Shares have gained for two sessions in a row after Swiss bank UBS took a big writedown in a move analysts saw as a sign the end of the banking sector's problems was in sight.
With the corporate results diary bereft of any big names, investors were focused on a clutch of macroeconomic numbers including Eurozone retail data, U.S. jobless claims and non-manufacturing PMI data.