Europe's main stock markets weakened on Tuesday as investors fretted over the poor state of the global economy and the eurozone debt crisis concerns centred on Spain.
In late morning deals, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares dropped 0.13 percent to 5,831.16 points, Frankfurt's DAX reversed 0.48 percent to 7,377.22 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.61 percent to 3,475.98.
The Spanish stock market slid 0.18 percent as the government's borrowing costs surged in a short-term 3.983-billion-euro ($5.1-billion) debt auction.
Italian stocks meanwhile dipped 0.61 percent after Milan also paid rising rates in a successful 5.437-billion-euro bond auction.
The European single currency slipped to $1.2912 from $1.2928 late in New York on Monday. Gold prices firmed to $1,767.75 an ounce on the London Bullion Market, up from $1,762.50.
Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday, with traders spooked by news that German business confidence had hit a 31-month low level, wrangling over Greece's budget and speculation over a possible Spanish bailout deal.
At the same time, investor sentiment has been hampered by recent poor data on the state of the Chinese economy.
"A combination of soft Chinese data and the overhanging issues facing the eurozone have prevented the FTSE from becoming too optimistic," said analyst Alastair McCaig at trading group IG Markets.
"The uncertainty over Spain's bailout requirements is still the major concern and it now seems that the Spanish will try to drag this out until after they have had their local elections."
Spain has cut a deal with the European Union for a rescue loan of up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) for banks hobbled by bad loans extended before a 2008 property market crash.
But it has refused to be rushed into seeking a full-blown sovereign bailout until it knows the conditions.
"The main concern amongst investors remains the eurozone," added Alpari analyst Craig Erlam.
"It seems that any Spanish bailout could be drawn out much longer than expected as German officials continue to oppose the idea. If this is the case, it will be interesting to see how the markets react to this."
In Asia, the Tokyo market was 0.25 percent higher, adding 22.25 points to 9,091.54 but Sydney slipped 0.29 percent, or 12.6 points, to 4,372.9 and Seoul shed 0.60 percent, or 12.03 points, to 1,991.41.
Hong Kong shares ended flat in quiet trading as a week-long Chinese holiday approaches. The benchmark Hang Seng Index nudged up 3.98 points to 20,698.68.