European stocks drop in roller-coaster trade
European equities slid on Wednesday as financial markets endured a roller-coaster week amid uncertainty surrounding the economic recovery, traders said.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 0.85 percent to 4,645.85 points approaching midday trade here.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 dropped 1.23 percent to 5,186.06 points and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.93 percent to 3,418.55 points nearing the half-way stage.
The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares decreased 1.24 percent to 2,598.07 points.
On the foreign exchange market, the European single currency eased to 1.4102 dollars.
"The (stock) markets are generally looking a tad dodgy just now after the attempt to rally after Monday's falls has petered out rather easily," said Capital Spreads analyst Simon Denham.
"With no major data out today, there is a sense that we are waiting for some confirmation that either we are pulling out of the mire, or that the weight of debt and poor confidence will drag us back in," he added.
Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei-225 index closed down 0.79 percent on Wednesday, hit by a stronger yen and worries about recent falls on the Chinese market, dealers said.
Chinese share prices tumbled by 4.30 percent on Wednesday as resources companies plunged amid concerns over declining international commodity prices, dealers said.
Wall Street meanwhile rebounded Tuesday, a day after a sharp pullback as the market digested better-than-expected US earnings reports from the retail sector and mixed data on American housing and inflation.
Global stock markets had slumped on Monday, triggered by fears of overblown hopes for recovery from the worst global economic slump in seven decades.
On Wednesday in London, the share price of British American Tobacco dropped 1.68 percent to 1,868 pence after the world's second biggest cigarette maker said it had appointed as its new chairman Richard Burrows, who resigned as head of ailing Bank of Ireland Group.
The Irishman succeeds Jan du Plessis, who leaves BAT to become chairman of Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.
In Paris, Europe's biggest airline Air France KLM slid 1.0 percent to 9.90 euros after announcing it had dropped its bid to buy the Czech state carrier Czech Airlines (CSA).
"The current economic environment has significantly impacted the airline business," Air France KLM explained in a statement, confirming that it had informed the Czech finance ministry of its intention to pull out.
"Under such circumstances, Air France KLM believes that CSA might focus on developing and implementing a stand-alone recovery plan aimed at restoring its profitability," the company added.