World stock markets retreated on Tuesday following a rally that kicked off the week, as global growth concerns returned to the fore with the mining sector taking another hit.
The pound remained under pressure over fears for Britain's future in the EU, while the euro fell in response to poorly-received German data.
"Equity markets are in the red... but not quite down and out," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
"A pullback by oil and industrial commodities from key technical levels is sapping risk appetite, as is another miner showing us how tough things are."
Global mining giant BHP Billiton posted a net loss for the six months to December 31 of $5.67 billion (5.15 billion euros) and slashed dividends as plunging commodity prices hammered its bottom line and the company warned of a prolonged period of volatility.
In late morning deals, BHP shares were down 5.0 percent at 756 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was 0.7-percent lower overall.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index was down 0.9 percent and the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.6 percent compared with Monday's close.
German business confidence fell for the third consecutive month in February, with manufacturers reporting the biggest drop in confidence since November 2008, the Ifo economic institute said Tuesday.
The institute's closely-watched business climate index slumped to a level not seen since January 2015, falling to 105.7 points in February from 107.3 points in the previous month, Ifo said in a statement.
Analysts said the reading showed that Germany's powerful export industry was starting to wake up to a global concerns roiling international markets.
ING's Carsten Brzeski said the data showed that "global events have finally reached German companies' boardrooms".
"Expectations have taken another sharp hit from recent market turmoil, the adverse impact of low oil prices and renewed concerns about a slowing of the Chinese economy," he said.
Asia's share rally stalled Tuesday, with markets battling a fresh fall in the price of oil and renewed fears for the Chinese economy.
In Tokyo, Japanese stocks fell as a stronger yen hit exporters.
- No to 'Brexit' -
Almost 200 bosses of top British companies on Tuesday urged voters to keep Britain in the European Union, warning that an exit from the bloc would threaten jobs.
Some 198 business leaders including Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems, BP chief executive Bob Dudley and Ron Dennis, chief of F1 team McLaren, wrote a joint letter published in the Times, backing Prime Minister David Cameron's deal to reform the EU.
The letter comes as a boost for Cameron, who was rocked on Sunday by the decision of charismatic London mayor Boris Johnson to back a "Brexit" in a referendum on June 23.
Cameron wants Britain to remain part of the EU, as long as it undergoes a series of reforms.
Sterling fell to near seven-year lows Monday on fears voters might opt to quit the union.
- Key figures around 1115 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.7 percent at 5,993.9 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.9 percent at 9,483.5
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 4,272.4
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.6 percent at 2,915.0
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.37 percent 16,052.05 points (close)
Shanghai - composite: DOWN 0.81 at 2,903.33 points (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.25 percent at 19,414.78 points (close)
New York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 16,620.66 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1008 from $1.1029 on Monday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.96 yen from 112.91 yen on Monday
Euro/pound: UP at 78.00 pence from 77.96 pence
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.4111 from $1.4148