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European Shares Set to Fall Ahead of Rate Decisions

European shares look set to fall on Thursday for a third time this week ahead two major central bank decisions in which inflation will likely play a major role.

Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open 16 to 20 points lower, Germany's DAX to open 5 to 10 points lower and France's CAC to open 11 to 15 points lower.

Both the European Central Bank and the Bank of England deliver their respective rate decisions.

Neither central bank is expected to change monetary policy and officials at both institutions have recently voiced their concern about stubbornly high inflation even as growth in both regions slows.

U.S. blue chip stocks fell on Wednesday, driven by fresh credit worries and inflation, after a warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on the threat to price pressures from the weaker dollar, while technology stocks rose.

"I suspect that we may not have called the indices down enough this morning. The Dow managed to lose all the gains from yesterday and close in the red," said City Index analyst Tom Hougaard in a note.

"So far the Dow is being called to open flat today. I still think that index has a date with 12,200 this week."

Europe's corporate calendar is light, with Austrian steel producer voestalipine, platinum refiner Johnson Matthey set to report earnings along with utility Severn Trent and supermarket chain WM Morrison.