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FTSE, DAX, CAC Seen Lower; Focus on Banks

European shares are seen opening slightly lower Thursday as worries about stagnating euro zone growth stoked fears of another recession.

Traders sit in front of their screens at the stock exchange in Frankfurt/Munich, western Germany.
Martin Oeser | AFP | Getty Images
Traders sit in front of their screens at the stock exchange in Frankfurt/Munich, western Germany.

Rising oil prices added to concerns over global growth, with analysts fearing they could disrupt a fragile economic recovery.

The FTSE 100 was seen lower by 8 points, the DAX lower by 4 points and the CAC 40 down 5 points.

The United States, ahead of a G20 meeting in Mexico, has voiced concerns that while Europe appears to be gaining ground on its sovereign debt crisis it must put up a convincing financial firewall against the risk of contagion.

Reports suggest Germany will resist any attempts to increase the firewall fund.

French bank Credit Agricole reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly net loss of 3.07 billion euros ($4.06 billion) before the open of trade in Europe on Thursday.

Franco-Belgian bank Dexia reported a loss of 11.6 billion euros ($15.4 billion) for 2011 due to hits from its carve up and to its exposure to Greek debt and other toxic assets.

The Royal Bank of Scotland reported a pre-tax loss of 766 million pounds ($1.2 billion) for 2011 but controversially will continue to pay 390 million pounds in bonuses it described as "variable compensation".

In the U.S., a district judge ruled that both BP and Anadarko are liable for civil damages over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 relieving some of the pressure on Transocean.

The ruling exposes both BP and Anadarko to billions of dollars in potential fines as it will allow the US government to pursue civil penalties at a trial scheduled to begin later this month.

Elsewhere in the U.S. the latest Republican presidential race debate saw rivals heavily criticize surprise front runner Rick Santorum.

Mitt Romney, who has lost out to his rival in recent primaries was consistent in his criticism of Santorum.