European Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady, focus on data
LONDON Feb 28 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a steady open on Friday after falls in the past three days, with traders expecting that a further drop in euro zone inflation may prompt the European Central Bank to ease policy further and boost cyclical stocks.
Figures due at 1000 GMT are likely to show inflation in the currency bloc falling to 0.7 percent in February from 0.8 percent in the previous month, according to a Reuters survey, but some analysts expected an even lower reading.
"There is a non-negligible risk that euro zone inflation surprises to the downside again, to 0.6 percent year-on-year," Credit Agricole said in a note.
"It remains a fairly close call whether the ECB eases monetary policy as soon as next week, with all options open, but on balance the most recent set of information supports our forecast of a small Refi rate cut on 6 March alongside possible liquidity action and/or guidance."
One-third of economists polled by Reuters have pencilled in a cut in the ECB's refinancing rate from the current 0.25 percent at its March 6 meeting.
At 0751 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent higher.
However, the market remained vulnerable to a further sell-off following disappointing results from some companies.
Bayer, Germany's largest drugmaker, was seen opening 1.6 percent lower after posting a 3.1 percent decline in adjusted core earnings, while Dutch oil and chemicals storage company Vopak reported a fall in fourth-quarter operating profit and said it would struggle to beat its record 2012 profit this year. Continuación...