European Shares to Open Lower; Focus on Ireland

European stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday, with stocks poised to halt a week-long rally, mirroring a mixed session on Wall Street.

Sharon Lorimer

European shares hit a four-week closing high on Tuesday, boosted by economic recovery hopes after the US extended the Bush-era tax cuts, while miners gained on rising demand expectations.

European finance ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday but failed to come to an agreement over an extension of the facility to bail out troubled European countries.

Belgian finance minister Didier Reynders told CNBC there was a need to set a system which would prevent speculation against particular countries in the future.

All European heads of state will meet December 16 and 17 to discuss ways to tackle the crisis, which continues to divide opinion among member states.

Jim Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings argued on CNBC on Tuesdaythat Ireland should have been allowed to go bankrupt, and asked why "innocent Germans" or others should pay for the mistakes made by Irish politicians.

Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan told parliament the Irish economy is now stabilizing, but nobody will be spared in the 6 billion euros in cuts and tax hikes unveiled by his government on Tuesday.

Macroeconomic data on the agenda on Wednesday includes October foreign trade figures for both Germany and France and German industrial production for October.

In the UK, the Confederation of British Industry's monthly industrial trends survey will provide an overview of how optimistic companies are in the current economic climate.