The FTSE 100 is set for a modest gain at Thursday's opening bell, with city sources predicting the index will open around eight points higher than yesterday's close of 6,755.48, tracking gains seen in the States last night.
US stocks moved higher despite the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showing an interest rate may come sooner than expected, although it is not likely to be until February or March next year.
The release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee July meeting showed the governors were becoming increasingly divided over policy, with a growing minority calling for a "relatively prompt" interest rate hike.
Thursday's session is set to be a busy one, with the release of European manufacturing reports along with services activity data and a Eurozone consumer confidence survey.
Already out are Chinese HSBC manufacturing figures, which revealed the purchasing managers' index dropped to a three-month low of 50.3 in August.
"Quite often, these Chinese figures can set the tone for the day but it appears that right now, investors are far more concerned with what the Fed is doing than how China is performing," Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam explained.
"As long as the country is on course for 7.5% growth, which it appears to be, then investors aren't worried."
Later on in the US, the market will turn its attention to a report on existing home sales which is forecast to show sales fell 0.5% in July after a 2.6% gain a month earlier.
In the UK, retail sales figures will be closely watched to gauge consumer spending. The report is expected to show a 3.5% rise in July following a 4% increase in June.
Things on the corporate front are due to be notably quieter, although retailer WH Smith confirmed that its annual results, out in October, will be in line with expectations. In a short trading update prior to the 31 August end of its financial year, the FTSE 250 group said there had been a "good performance" from both its businesses, with the travel arm's new store programme on track and the high street unit having delivered good gross margins and cost control.
Kazakh miner Kazakhmys hailed progress with a shake-up designed to focus it on the lucrative copper market, pointing to the disposal of surplus assets, but said reduced output of by-products would partly offset its full-year production.
Interserve's joint venture with Shanks Group has signed a £950m public-private partnership contract with Derby City and Derbyshire County Councils to build and operate a new waste treatment facility in the city. Under the 27-year deal, Interserve will begin building a £145m mechanical biological treatment facility and an on-site gasification plant in south Derby, which Shanks will operate.