Chinese economic figures today were mixed, with both manufacturing and services activity weakening in April. That in turn hit most stock markets in the region and is likely to spill over into the European mood.
The FTSE 100 was expected to fall 14 points to 6948 today according to trading on the IG platform.
As the week draws to a close, investors will be once again mulling the outlook for interest rates. US government bonds fell and yields rose yesterday with many investors betting rates are set to rise further in the coming months.
US Federal Reserve chief Jay Powell calmed those expectations somewhat on Wednesday when he said it was too soon to begin tapering Fed support for the US economy, but markets seem to have shrugged off his words already.