European stock markets slumped for a second day running Wednesday following sharp losses across Asia but sentiment was lifted by a mega-takeover involving China.
Approaching midday, London and Paris were down about 1.0 percent, Frankfurt gave up 1.5 percent and Milan lost more than 2.0 percent.
Oil prices rebounded after slipping back below $30 a barrel.
"Another down day in Europe, taking its cues from Asia as the demise of the oil prices continues to suppress any real risk appetite," said Brenda Kelly, head analyst at traders London Capital Group.
"Energy and financials are the underperformers today overall. Oil continues to drag on the FTSE especially in light of BP's (poor) set of results yesterday which tends to set the scene for Shell tomorrow morning when it reports its numbers."
Among the biggest fallers, Barclays shed 4.0 percent, BP lost 1.6 percent and Societe Generale slid 3.1 percent.
- Mega deal -
Despite the Asian economic turmoil, China National Chemical Corp (ChemChina) Wednesday offered to buy Switzerland's pesticide and seed giant Syngenta for $43 billion, which would be a record overseas purchase by a Chinese firm.
The deal is the latest in a string of overseas investments for China's biggest chemical company, also known as ChemChina, as Beijing prods its companies to expand abroad.
"US markets look set for a higher and less volatile open on Wednesday with merger news offering a source of optimism after the agreed deal between Syngenta and ChemChina and Yahoo hinting at a possible sale," said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler.
Yahoo meanwhile on Tuesday said it is cutting 15 percent of its workforce and narrowing its focus as it explores "strategic alternatives" for the future of the faded Internet star.
Elsewhere Wednesday, oil cast a cloud over markets again after prices fell back below $30 a barrel.
The plunge in oil prices to 12-year lows has sent shudders through world markets, helping wipe trillions of dollars off share valuations and even raising fears of recession.
But slumping oil prices do substantially reduce costs for companies, especially airlines.
Crude resumed its downward trend this week, jettisoning most of the gains seen in a rally last week fuelled by hopes for OPEC-Russian talks on output cuts.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crashed more than 11 percent on Monday and Tuesday to fall back through the $30 level for the first time since January 21. Brent lost almost six percent in the same period.
On Wednesday early losses were pared on bargain-buying but dealers remain on edge ahead of a US report analysts warned could see a further increase in stockpiles.
- Key figures around 1100 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 1.1 percent at 5,856.5 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.5 percent at 9,438.4
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.1 percent at 4,238.1
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.6 percent at 2,905.8
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 3.2 percent at 17,191.25 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 2.3 percent at 18,991.59 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,739.25 (close)
New York - Dow: DOWN 1.8 percent at 16,153.54 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0928 from $1.0917 on Tuesday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 119.40 yen from 120.01 yen