European stock markets were mixed on Monday amid deep concern about the world economy in light of the eurozone debt crisis, weak US data, a slowdown in China and perceived lack of political action.
While London was closed for the jubilee bank holiday, the German DAX stock index traded below the key psychological level of 6,000 points for the first time since January.
In late morning exchanges, the DAX stood at 5,975.11 points, down 1.24 percent from the close on Friday.
"For the start of the new trading week things are looking increasingly bleak for European equities," ETX Capital trader Markus Huber commented.
He added that the market trend downwards was based on "Friday's much worse than expected US job data and news overnight out of China pointing towards a broadening of the slowdown from manufacturing into the service sector."
LBBW brokers said in a note to investors that "the bearish sentiment looks set to continue in Europe for the time being."
In Paris however, the CAC 40 index erased opening losses to show a rise of 0.43 percent to to 2,963.10 points after having lost more than two percent on Friday to reach a six-month low point.
Spanish stocks were also back in positive territory after falling by more than one percent at the start of trading to 5,990.7 points, the first time the Ibex-35 index had dropped below 6,000 points since 2003.
It later showed a solid gain of 1.87 percent at 6,178.20 points.
On foreign exchange markets, the euro traded for 1.2427 dollars, up slightly from its level late Friday in New York of 1.2423 dollars.
The Spanish labour ministry said Monday that the number of jobseekers in Spain fell by a slight 0.63 percent to 4.71 million people, the second consecutive monthly drop after hitting a record high in March.
Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the industrialised world, with 24.44 percent of the workforce idle, according to the national statistics office Ine.
In neighbouring Portugal, the finance ministry said it would inject more than 6.65 billion euros ($8.2 billion) into private banks BCP and BPI, and the state-owned CGD to meet criteria established by the European Banking Authority.
Five billion euros of that amount would come from an envelope worth 12 billion included in an EU/IMF financial rescue plan drawn up in May 2011, the ministry said.
Portugal has passed its fourth bailout review and will receive its next tranche of rescue loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said.
"According to the evaluation made by international institutions, we are respecting our recovery programme," Gaspar said.
In Cyprus, news agency CNA reported that President Demetris Christofias has not ruled out seeking aid from the EU's permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.
Christofias said Cyprus was still uncertain whether his country would turn to the ESM once operations began in July, but he did not rule out the possibility, CNA said.
Economists warned that European authorities did not seem to be tackling the debt crisis in a determined and coordinated manner, leaving investors to fear stock prices could sink further still.
"While many consider the recent move to the downside as vastly overdone, any help in the short term seems also hard to come by with politicians continue to disagree about measures to stabilise the current situation and the ECB unwilling being dictated to by falling markets and a worsening in sentiment," Huber said.
UniCredit Chief economist Erik Nielsen added that in his opinion, "global political leadership is in short supply these days."