European shares were set to rise on Tuesday, after Wall Street finished off lows, and Alcoa kicked off earnings season by beating forecasts.
European shares fell sharply on Monday, giving back some of last week's gains, as worries about the euro zone debt crisis once again took centre stage ahead of debt auctions this week.
The European Central Bank threw Portugal a temporary lifeline on Monday by buying up its bonds, traders said, as pressure mounted on the country to seek a bailout.
With key debt auctions scheduled for Spain on Wednesday and Portugal on Thursday, sovereign debt will remain in focus on Tuesday.
Greece has its first T-bill auction of the year, 1.5 billion euros worth of six-month paper. The yield is expected around 5.0-5.25 percent, up from 4.82 percent in a similar auction in November
Spain is expected to have to pay a hefty premium to sell 5-year bonds on Thursday. Risk spreads on Spanish debt against German benchmark bunds peaked at their widest in nearly six months on Monday. Yields on Portuguese debt also jumped.
Meanwhile the Bank of Portugal is due to publish a quarterly bulletin which may include revisions of economic growth forecasts and comments on budget deficit goals and austerity measures on Tuesday.
Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond is set to appear in front of the Treasury select committee on Tuesday, with members of parliament expected to pressure him to forgo any bonus for 2010 given the economic climate.