Europe's main stock markets slid on Tuesday, extending the previous day's losses despite improving German business sentiment as traders took further profits after last week's strong gains.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dropped 0.83 percent to 5,844.85 points in late morning deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 retreated 1.12 percent to 7,320.95 points and in Paris the CAC 40 slumped 1.31 percent to stand at 3,507.24.
The Madrid market tumbled 1.90 percent and Milan plunged 2.26 percent.
Spreadex trader Simon Furlong said markets were being hit by a combination of European debt and US growth worries despite recent central bank action, growing tensions between Japan and China and a cooler outlook for commodities.
"Concerns over Europe and slowing US growth came back to the market... as the euphoria of QE3 subsides," Furlong said.
"Asia traded lower as tensions between Japan and China over a territorial dispute escalated, causing many Japanese firms to suspend operations.
"Mining stocks are taking a hit this morning as worries for global metals prices hits home after Australia cut its revenue forecast for a key steel making ingredient by a fifth," the trader added.
In foreign exchange deals, the euro slipped to $1.3082 from $1.3114 on Monday, when the European single currency had hit the highest level for 4.5 months at $1.3172
"The loss of upward momentum for the euro... has coincided with tentative signs that eurozone sovereign debt yields are beginning to creep higher again after the significant downward adjustment following ECB policy action," said Lee Hardman, currency analyst at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.
"The renewed pick up in yields is most evident in Spain with the 10-year government bond yields rising back towards 6.0 percent.
"The sharp decline in yields on the promise of unlimited ECB bond purchases has served to ease market pressure upon the Spanish government to request external support," he added.
Investor sentiment in Germany rose for the first time in five months in September, data showed Tuesday, as the European Central Bank's new bond-buying programme helped boost confidence.
The widely watched investor confidence indicator calculated each month by the ZEW economic institute climbed to minus 18.2 points in this month from minus 25.5 in August.
"This is the first rise in the indicator following four consecutive months of decline," ZEW said in a statement.
"The fact that the indicator remains in negative territory shows that financial market experts are continuing to forecast a cooling down of the German economy in the next six months," the statement said.
"Nevertheless, the end of the downward slide in September suggests that the experts believe the economic weakening will be only moderate."
Stock market dealers meanwhile continued to bank profits after last week's huge gains sparked by the US Federal Reserve's stimulus plan.
The US central bank on Thursday said it would start a third round of bond-buying, known as quantitative easing (QE3), in a bid to jumpstart the world's biggest economy.
The announcement, which followed a European Central Bank plan to buy the debt of under-pressure eurozone nations, had injected global markets with some much-needed risk appetite on Friday.
Tuesday's profit-taking was also supported by data showing the Fed's Empire State manufacturing index for the New York region fell for a second consecutive month in September.
Anti-Japan protests across China also weighed, with three of Japan's biggest car makers saying they had closed their factories or cut production in China as a result.
Tokyo and Beijing are locked in a political stand-off over a disputed group of islands in the East China Sea that have seen violent protests across China which have hit shares.