Asian shares retreated today, as the latest gauge of China's factory sector activity raised concerns about the world's second-largest economy, Reuters reported.
Financial spreadbetters say European bourses would follow suit, with the UK's FTSE 100 seen opening flat to 6 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 per cent; Germany's DAX seen opening 27 to 36 points lower, or down as much as 0.3 per cent; and France's CAC 40 expected to open 1 to 4 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 per cent.
According to Melbourne-based, IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu, ahead of the European open the major bourses may be expected to be mildly weaker.
"Greek negotiations are likely to remain a dominant theme and, while new Prime Minister Tsipras has said negotiations have been constructive, traders are likely to take this with a grain of salt," Shamu said in a note to clients.
The new leftist government started its drive to persuade a sceptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement even as it started to roll back on austerity measures imposed under its existing bailout agreement.
It is looking to end the existing arrangement with the EU, the ECB and the IMF "troika" when its aid deadline expires on 28 February.
The HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity, rose to a final reading of 49.7 in January from 49.6 in December, HSBC Holdings PLC said today.
A sub-50 reading indicated a contraction in manufacturing activity against the previous month, whereas a reading above indicated an expansion.
Both new orders and new export orders saw revisions, but according to HSBC it still indicated a marginal expansion.
"We think demand in the manufacturing sector remains weak. More aggressive monetary and fiscal easing measures will be needed to prevent another sharp slowdown in growth," HSBC's chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin, said in a statement.
The final reading stood lower than HSBC's preliminary January PMI of 49.8, announced on 23 January. The preliminary figure was based on 85 per cent to 90 per cent of responses to its PMI survey.