European stock markets mostly fell on Monday amid further bad news for indebted Spain but Frankfurt managed to edge higher after positive retail sales data and bumper earnings from Adidas.
London's FTSE 100 index slid 0.35 percent to 5,746.48 points in late morning deals and the Paris CAC 40 retreated 0.84 percent to 3,238.99 points while in Frankfurt the DAX 30 rose 0.09 percent to 6,807.47 points.
Madrid's IBEX 35 index lost 0.58 percent to 7,104.90 points as data confirmed Spain's official return to recession and as Standard & Poor's downgraded the country's top banks.
In foreign exchange deals, the euro nudged higher to $1.3234 from $1.3231 in New York late on Friday.
"Once again, the Spanish ulcer is providing cause for concern; anti-austerity protests took place over the weekend and this morning we have had news confirming that Spain slipped back into recession in the first quarter," said IG Index trader Yusuf Heusen.
"In addition, S&P has downgraded 11 of Spain's largest banks, mirroring its move last week on the national sovereign debt rating.
"It is a busy week for economic news, with manufacturing data from China, the UK and the US tomorrow, and German unemployment on Wednesday, while the week culminates in (US) non-farm payrolls data that will keep markets on edge from Wednesday onwards," Heusen added.
Spain has back tipped into recession, an official estimate confirmed Monday, even as the government pressed ahead with unpopular spending cuts to rein in burgeoning debt.
Spain's economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the first quarter, the same rate as in the last three months of 2011. A recession is defined as two successive quarters of shrinking economic output.
Meanwhile, S&P on Monday downgraded the ratings of the top Spanish banks, including Santander and BBVA, after slashing the country's credit standing because of worsening deficit and growth problems.
S&P on Friday slashed Spain's sovereign rating by two notches to 'BBB+' and said Monday the same considerations "could have potentially negative implications for our view of the economic risk and industry risk affecting the Spanish banking industry."
There was better news for Germany, Europe's biggest economy, which said that retail sales rose 0.8 percent in March from February.
Separately, German sportswear maker Adidas reported a strong rise in first-quarter profits to 289 million euros ($383 million), sending the company's shares rallying 5.65 percent to 63.20 euros.
Asian markets closed higher on Monday following a positive lead from Wall Street on Friday.
Sydney gained 0.79 percent, Seoul put on 0.34 percent and Hong Kong jumped 1.70 percent. Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for public holidays.
With no catalysts to drive buying in Asia, traders looked to Wall Street which got a boost from a strong earnings report from online retail giant Amazon.
Markets shrugged off data that the US economy grew at a slower pace than forecast in the first quarter, with analysts pointing out that personal consumption -- the biggest contributor to growth -- rose more than expected.
The US economy grew 2.2 percent in the January-March period, well down from the 3.0 percent chalked up in the previous three months.