European stocks were called to open lower on Thursday, tracking Asia overnight where shares and the euro fell amid disagreement between France and Germany over the role of the European Central Bank in resolving the sovereign debt crisis.
The FTSE is called 57 points lower, the DAX in Frankfurt is expected to open down by 98 points and the CAC 40 is called lower by 48 points.
France and Spain will hold bond auctions on Thursday, after modest bond purchases failed to calm markets and financial institutions seemed reluctant to purchase European bonds for fear of counterparty exposure to sovereign debt.
France and Germany clashed again on Wednesday over the role of the ECB and whether the European Financial Stability Facility should be granted a banking license to enable it to borrow from the European Central Bank.
Germany is strongly opposed to the idea, but France, facing rising borrowing costs and keen to hold on to its 'AAA' credit rating, is pushing for greater ECB intervention.
French Finance Minister Francois Baroin made his nation's position clear on Wednesday, telling journalists: "The position of France… is that the way to prevent contagion is for the EFSF to have a banking license."
Italy and Greece are likely to remain in the spotlight on Thursday as Italian Prime Minister-delegate Mario Monti goes to the Italian Senate to seek approval for his new government and a sweeping package of economic reforms.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page