Two-dimensional laminar flow of an incompressible viscous fluid through a channel with a sudden expansion is investigated. A continuation method is applied to study the bifurcation structure of the discretized governing equations. The stability of the different solution branches is determined by an Arnoldi-based iterative method for calculating the most unstable eigenmodes of the linearized equations for the perturbation quantities. The bifurcation picture is extended by computing additional solution branches and bifurcation points. The behaviour of the critical eigenvalues in the neighbourhood of these bifurcation points is studied. Limiting cases for the geometrical and flow parameters are considered and numerical results are compared with analytical solutions for these cases.