European stock markets slid Tuesday in the absence of risky trades amid concerns over the strength of the world's top economies.
In late morning trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.87 percent to 6,000.71 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dropped 0.95 percent to 7,136.89 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 1.07 percent to 3,995.47.
The Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone companies slipped 0.77 percent to 2,951.66 points.
"Downgraded growth forecasts by the IMF for the US economy. and news from Japan that the nuclear crisis continues to worsen has hit risk appetite hard across the globe," said IG Index trader Ben Critchley.
"All told, equity traders are starting to look rather more bearish, and with a run of (Easter) holidays coming up, the risk now has to be that volumes start to dry up and the downward trend continues."
The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its 2011 growth forecast for the United States to 2.8 percent from 3.0 percent, citing sluggish consumer spending power and the depressed housing industry.
Meanwhile the devastating earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan, as well as unrest in Libya and the wider region, have shaken investor confidence in Germany, the closely watched ZEW index showed Tuesday.
The monthly survey of investors in Europe's top economy fell 6.5 points to 7.6 points in April. This was worse than analysts polled by Dow Jones had expected. They forecast a reading of 10 points.
On the corporate front, state-rescued Allied Irish Banks said Tuesday that its net losses ballooned to 10.4 billion euros ($15 billion) in 2010, adding that it planned to axe more than 2,000 jobs by the end of next year.
The huge losses and job cuts were expected as Ireland's banking sector has been left battered by the global financial crisis, which in turn has led to a massive international bailout of the eurozone nation.
Greece, another bailed-out nation, raised 1.625 billion euros ($2.4 billion) Tuesday in a sale of six-month treasury bills, after a lull imposed amid persistently high money costs for the debt-hit EU member.
The Greek debt management agency said the yield had risen to 4.8 percent from 4.75 percent offered in the last six-month bill sale in March.
Traders also digest mixed European inflation data. In Britain, annual inflation dropped to 4.0 percent in March from 4.4 percent in February, which had been the highest level for more than two years, official data showed.
Consumer prices however rose in Portugal to 4.0 percent in March