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European Shares Set to Rise; Nokia, US Banks Eyed

European shares were set to open higher on Thursday, tracking gains in the United States and Asia as the oil price stayed relatively subdued and investors focused on a clutch of heavyweight corporate results.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE to open up 49 to 53 points, Germany's DAX up 45 to 55 points and and France's CAC up 28 to 40 points.

Handset maker Nokia, a technology bellwether, reports results, as do white goods group Electrolux and drugmaker Novartis.

But with banks squarely in focus, investors will scour results closely later in the day from JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. Techs IBM and Microsoft also report.

On Wednesday, U.S. bank stocks enjoyed their best day in 16 years as unexpectedly strong results from Wells Fargo relieved worry about a credit crisis spiraling out of control. Oil fell more than $6 on Wednesday amid a surprise build in U.S. inventories.