European shares were set to fall sharply on Tuesday, financial bookmakers said, after U.S. and Asian equities tumbled overnight on intensifying concerns about a fragile financial sector.
Financial bookmakers called Britain's FTSE 100 down 43-48 points, or 0.9 percent, Germany's DAX down 34-60 points, also 0.9 percent, and France's CAC down 24-34 points, or 0.8 percent.
Asian stocks tumbled on Tuesday after Merrill Lynch, the third-largest U.S. investment bank, said it would take a $5.7 billion write down related to bad debt, draining confidence in the unstable sector.
In the previous session major Wall Street indexes slid about 2 percent on fears of more credit and housing market turmoil and as major companies posted a mixed bag of results.
Investors fretting over the financial sector will scrutinise a host of results from major European banks this week, with Spain's Banco Santander due to report second-quarter results later on Tuesday.