European Stocks to Open Lower; Fed Meeting Eyed

European shares were set to slip on Tuesday, tracking falls on Wall Street and in Asia as investors take a cautious stance ahead of the start of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open down 7 to 18 points or 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX to open down 2 to 7 points or 0.1 percent and France's CAC-40 to open down 11 to 15 points or 0.5 percent.

Sharon Lorimer

European shares closed at their highest in more than a week on Thursday ahead of the 4-day Easter weekend as earnings from European firms such as AkzoNobel and U.S. companies such as Apple helped eclipse macroeconomic worries.

UBS earnings came in stronger than forecast, while client flows were strongest since the crisis started.

Barclays , Santander, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse also report this week.

On the macroeconomic front, investors will focus on a first estimate for UK GDP, due on Wednesday, and UK April consumer confidence numbers on Thursday.

The European debt crisis will continue to simmer in the background this week as well as speculation about a Greek restructuring intensifies.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is likely to steal the limelight from Europe on Wednesday however when he holds a press conference for the first timefollowing the bank's rate-setting meeting.

The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, meets on Thursday, with monetary policy and the damage from Japan's triple disasters still on the agenda.