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Australian shares expected to open lower

The Australian sharemarket is expected to open slightly lower on Monday as worries about Europe continue to weigh on global markets.

Another flare-up in Europe's debt crisis knocked US markets lower on Friday as Spanish bank Bankia hoped for a major bailout.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.86 points to 1317.82. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.85 points to 2837.53.

AMP Capital Markets head of strategy Shane Oliver said Australian futures fell 13 points, or 0.3 per cent, as a result of the fall in US shares.

"The odds are we'll probably end up down slightly at the open," Mr Oliver said.

"In the absence of anymore weekend stimulus announcements out of China, futures point to a softish open for the Australian share market on Monday morning."

Despite a better consumer outlook in the US, investors were still worried about Spanish banks and the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone.

European markets closed higher on Friday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies inching up 0.03 per cent to 5351.53 points.

Meanwhile, the new president of Spain's fourth-biggest bank, Bankia, was confident of receiving 19 billion euros ($A24.5 billion) from the government in the largest bank bailout in the country's history.

The Spanish government has already spent 4.5 billion euros ($A5.82 billion) on Bankia after the lender was partially nationalised earlier this month.

Mr Oliver said European worries would continue to weigh on the Australian sharemarket this week.

Australian stocks have fallen 9.2 per cent over the month.

This week investors will keep a close eye on a raft of data being released locally and overseas, including an Irish referendum on a European fiscal pact on Thursday and US jobs numbers on Friday.

Australian retail sales figures will be released on Wednesday, with risks to the downside after a bounce in March.

On Thursday, relatively weak building approvals figures will be released after a lift last month.

The RP Data Rismark house price index will be released on Friday.