European equities fell on Monday as investors digested a blockbuster deal that leaves British oil group BP with nearly a fifth of the Russian giant Rosneft, and also took stock of a souring outlook from heavy equipment maker Caterpillar.
In afternoon trading, London's FTSE 100 index of top companies eased 0.17 percent to 5,885.98 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 fell 0.41 percent to 7,350.61 points, while in Paris the CAC 40 index was down 0.32 percent to 3,493.40 points.
The euro firmed to $1.3059 from $1.3027 late in New York on Friday. Gold prices slid to $1,725 an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,737.
US stocks opened mixed Monday as investors braced for a week of earnings reports, with a lowered outlook by Caterpillar, a world economy bellwether, hurting sentiment.
Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.10 percent, the S&P 500-stock index was flat, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.16 percent.
"Some cautious guidance from Caterpillar is helping to keep things in check," said Patrick O'Hare at Briefing.com.
Although the world's largest heavy equipment maker posted its best third-quarter, with record profit and sales that beat forecasts, "the bad news is that it provided FY12 and FY13 guidance that is below current consensus estimates," he said.
"Thus far, the earnings reporting period, even with the financials, has left plenty to be desired," he added.
In Europe on Monday, the energy sector shifted into focus after BP agreed multi-billion-dollar deals to take almost a fifth of Rosneft, which will itself be transformed into a top player in the global oil sector.
BP said in a statement that it had agreed to sell its half of Russian venture TNK-BP to Rosneft for $17.1 billion (13.1 billion euros) plus another 12.84 percent share in the state firm.
BP added it would spend $4.8 billion of the proceeds to buy another 5.66 percent of Rosneft from the Russian government, bringing its total stake in the Russian company to 19.75 percent. BP currently owns 1.25 percent of Rosneft.
The shake-up has major implications for the exploration of oil and gas in the vast Arctic region, while helping to firm up BP's plans to refocus its attention away from the United States after the 2010 oil spill disaster.
It also effectively ends the often tumultuous but highly profitable TNK-BP joint venture. In Moscow, Rosneft announced it had also bought the remaining 50 percent of shares in TNK-BP from Russian investors.
BP shares dipped 1.74 percent to 442.55 pence in reaction.
Elsewhere in Europe, Madrid's IBEX 35 benchmark index of top shares slid 0.31 percent to 7,888.8 points as investors absorbed mixed election results for Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over the weekend.
Rajoy won a landslide in his home region of Galicia despite a deep recession and cut-backs. However, separatist forces gained ground in a regional election held the same day in the northern Basque country.
"Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy's mixed outcome at regional elections raises hopes that the government there does not quite face the challenging and difficult opposition by the public that we expected," said ETX Capital trader Ishaq Siddiqi.
"Rajoy won an election in Galicia but lost in the Basque Country -- however, 10-year (Spanish) bond yields were stable, at around 5.34 percent, as investors interpreted these developments in Spain as progress toward the country seeking financial help."
European leaders agreed on Friday to police thousands of eurozone banks beginning next year as they sought to create much-needed jobs in their austerity-battered economies.
By the close of a two-day summit, France and Germany had patched up differences over how to beat the debt crisis, with the new watchdog for 6,000 banks a key condition for allowing a dedicated rescue fund to re-float troubled lenders.
Leaders cited "significant progress" on a 120-billion-euro ($155-billion) package of measures to try to kickstart a climb out of recession as social and political unrest hits Spain as well as Greece.
"The summit proved to be a non-event," noted analyst Anita Paluch at Gekko Global Markets.
In Asia on Monday, some traders took the opportunity to cash in after last week's advances.
Hong Kong's main stocks index added 0.68 percent, Tokyo gained 0.09 percent and Shanghai rose 0.21 percent, while Sydney closed down 0.66 percent.