European stock markets fell on Thursday, as investors awaited an emergency eurozone summit set to discuss a new bailout deal for Greece amid a spreading eurozone debt crisis.
London's FTSE 100 index of top shares dropped 0.46 percent to 5,826.78 points morning deals. Frankfurt's DAX 30 declined 0.68 percent to 7,172.34 points and in Paris the CAC 40 index shed 0.49 percent to 3,736.35.
The Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone companies declined by 0.25 percent to 2,698.96 points.
In foreign exchange trading, the euro rose to $1.4248 from $1.4212 late in New York on Wednesday.
"The last two days have seen a small rise in equities as traders wagered on EU finance ministers taking one step towards solving their sovereign debt issues," said Manoj Ladwa, senior trader at ETX Capital.
"But this mini-rally seems to have run out of steam this morning as traders move to the sidelines ahead of any announcement," he added.
Ahead of the summit's start, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the eurozone's key players, agreed on a "common position" after late-night talks in Berlin.
The French government said the agreement was a precondition to ending the eurozone debt crisis.
"It was an indispensable precondition to reassure our partners," government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse told France 2 television.
"We must build the widest possible consensus and the first building block of that consensus, is obviously a common position" between France and Germany, she added.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei stock average finished flat on Thursday, after a day of cautious, thin trade with a strong yen hurting sentiment ahead of the key summit to address Greece's debt woes, traders said.
US stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as investors waited for a resolution to the debt-ceiling standoff in Washington and digested a mixed bag of second-quarter earnings reports.
Traders were also closely watching developments in Washington, where US President Barack Obama was set to meet with opposition Republican leaders to seek a compromise solution to the debt-ceiling battle.
The White House has warned that failure to raise the debt limit by August 2 could lead to a US government default, which Obama has characterized as economic "Armageddon".