European stocks fell Monday, after heavy losses elsewhere, asinvestors fretted over the global technology sector, the US interest rate outlook and fresh unrest in Ukraine, dealers said. Markets won a modest boost after Swiss cement group Holcim and French rival Lafarge announced that they will merge to create a global leader in the concrete industry.Approaching midday, London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies slid 0.42 percent to 6,667.68 points.Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 1.03 percent to 9,595.81 and in Paris the CAC 40 index dipped 0.55 percent to 4,459.93 points."The week has started firmly in the red, with UK and European markets following the lead set by Asia," said IG analyst Chris Beauchamp."The losses have been broad-based in London, but for the moment it seems to be theimmediate knee-jerk reaction to Friday’s poor finish in the US rather than the startof a sustained move."Reports of unrest in eastern Ukraine are not helping risk appetite, because of fears that the situation may play out in a similar fashion to the events in Crimea -- namely popular discontent, followed by the arrival of Russian forces as protection."- US faces technology worries -Wall Street had tumbled on Friday, despite solid US payrolls data, and on growing worries that the technology sector was overvalued, dealers said.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 2.60 percent on Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.96 percent in value.Official data showed Friday that the US economy added 192,000 jobs in March -- which was just below forecasts of 195,000."Friday’s solid US non-farm payrolls data triggered a late selloff on Wall Street as traders viewed the reading as confirmation that the Federal Reserve will not change course on tapering of the bond-buying programme which will mean interest rates will increase this time next year," said ETX Capital trader Ishaq Siddiqi."That prompted Asian markets to decline overnight with traders showing hesitancy ahead of the Bank of Japan policy meeting."European markets were also rocked by growing negative sentiment over the tech sectors.In Monday morning deals, British chipmaker ARM Holdings saw its shares slide 2.21 percent to 974 pence in London.German semiconductor giant Infineon slid 1.91 percent to 8.575 euros in Frankfurt."Clearly the sentiment for technology high flyers has soured since last Friday," noted Varengold Bank analyst Anita Paluch.Asian equities mostly retreated on Monday, taking their lead from Friday's heavy sell-off in New York.Hong Kong declined 0.59 percent, Tokyo stocks fell 1.69 percent and Sydney shed 0.17 percent, while Shanghai and Bangkok were closed for public holidays."The eye-catching performance was the sharp retreat on Japan's tech-heavy Nikkei index, which tracked late falls on Wall Street on Friday," said Valutrades analyst Joao Monteiro."Traders attributed the dip to concerns over whether future earnings, particularly in the technology sector, justified companies' bloated valuations."- Cement merger into mix -Meanwhile in Zurich and Paris on Monday, investors welcomed news of the merger of Lafarge and Holcim to create LafargeHolcim.The blockbuster deal, which has the backing of both boards and core shareholders, is expected to generate economies of scale of 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) over three years.On the Swiss stock market, the price of Holcim shares rose 1.12 percent to 81.10 Swiss francs and in Paris, Lafarge shares were up 2.23 percent to 65.52 euros.In foreign exchange deals, the euro rose to $1.3714 from $1.3701 late on Friday in New York. The dollar stood at 103.21 yen from 103.25 on Friday.
The European single currency advanced to 82.74 British pence from 82.69 pence, while the pound climbed to $1.6574 from $1.6567.On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold firmed to $1,298.91 an ounce from $1,297.25 on Friday.