European shares were set to open lower on Thursday, tracking Asian stockmarkets on financial sector worries and as investors trained their sights on rate announcements from the region's top central banks.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open down 10 to 14 points, Germany's DAX down 8 to 11 points and France's CAC down 11 to 13 points.
Stocks were set to be pressured by more bad news from the embattled financial sector, with U.S. insurer American International Group taking mortgage-related writedowns and top European rival Allianz abandoning its profit goal.
Other insurers, and reinsurers, were in focus, with results from AXA, Aegon, Hannover Re, RSA Insurance and Friends Provident.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are expected to keep rates steady but investors will be watching any rhetoric from the banks to gauge how they are balancing growth and inflation concerns.