The FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index is seen opening down 14-17 points, or 0.3 percent on Tuesday, according to financial bookmakers, extending its recent slide on fears over the euro zone debt crisis after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi quashed hopes for more aggressive bond purchases.
Speaking late on Monday, Draghi said bond market pressure on the euro zone will be very significant in the first quarter of next year, but gave no hint that the central bank was about to change tack on its bond-buying programme.
The blue chip index closed 22.35 points, or 0.4 percent lower on Monday at 5,364.99, with banks were under pressure as the British government backed proposals to force lenders to form barriers between their retail and riskier investment arms to protect retail customers if there is a crisis.
Once again, any hope of a Santa rally seems to be disappearing quickly despite the generally depressed values of equities right now although as always the combination of bargain hunters and a quiet market could well offer a degree of support in the days ahead, said Terry Pratt, Institutional Trader at IG Markets.
U.S. blue chips <.DJI> shed 0.8 percent on Monday, also led lower by financials on warnings of deteriorating conditions in the euro zone and concerns about tougher capital rules that could cut into big banks' profits.
But the mood in Asia was a touch more positive as the region recovered from sharp falls in the previous session after the death of North Korea leader Kim Jong-il raised fears of regional instability.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> added 0.4 percent, after sliding as much as 2.9 percent the day before. South Korea's benchmark index <.KS11> outperformed with a 0.9 percent rise, after plunging as much as 5 percent on news of Kim's death.
Commodity prices also rallied in Asian trade, with copper up 0.5 percent, edging off a two-session low, while crude prices added 0.6 percent squeezed higher by supply worries.
On the data front, British consumer confidence edged up last month from October's record low, but remained depressed by rising unemployment and high inflation, a survey from the Nationwide building society showed on Tuesday.
Nationwide's seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index rose to 40 in November from 36 in October, but this is still the second-lowest reading in the survey's seven-year history and is 7 points below its level in November last year.
December's CBI industrial trends report will be released at 11:00 a.m.
Across the Atlantic, U.S. housing starts and building permits data for November will be released at 1:30 p.m.
(Reporting by Jon Hopkins. Editing by Jane Merriman)