European Stocks To Open Higher as Oil Prices Drop

European stock index futures pointed to a rebound on Thursday on optimism over the health of the U.S. economy following forecast-beating data, and as oil prices dropped on Venezuela's proposed peace plan for Libya.

Sharon Lorimer

European shares fell further on Wednesday afterdeepening conflict in Libyaand growing tensions elsewhere in the oil-rich Arab world pushed crude back near recent highs and fuelled growth fears among buyers of equities.

On Thursday, all eyes will be on the European Central Bank's monthly interest rate decision. The bank is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold at 1 percent, although it is expected to sharpen its language on inflation.

Figures released on Monday showed euro zone inflation was well above the ECB's target at 2.3 percent in January. More expensive oil is likely to cause inflation to rise further.

In other macroeconomic news, investors will keep an eye on euro zone retail trade data for January and the euro zone services purchasing managers index for February will provide further detail on the health of the economy.

UK house prices for February are also due.

Spain's Treasury aims to sell between 3 billion and 4 billion euros ($4.13-$5.51 billion) of two 2014 and 2016-dated bonds on Thursday.

The sale comes a day after Portugal bought back 110 million euros ($152 million) out of a total of 9.3 billion euros in bonds due in April and June in an auction designed to reassure investors the country has no problems redeeming its debt.