One of the big losers was PowderJect Pharmaceuticals Plc, which skidded 23% after the drug maker said profits this year will be lower than forecast as it recalled a tuberculosis vaccine in its home market. Anglo-South African financial-services group Old Mutual lost 5.7% after reporting a 16% fall in first-half operating profit and warning that it doesn't expect a market turnaround in the second half.
In France, the CAC 40 was off 83.50 points, or 2.42%, to 3,364.44. Vivendi Universal shares fell 5.3% on reports that the troubled media company may take writedowns totaling ``several billion'' euros when it reports profits on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reports that the charge could be more than 5 billion euros ($4.85 billion) against second-quarter earnings to account for a further depreciation in the value of its assets.
And in Germany, the DAX Index gave up 113.73 points, or 3.02%, to 3,647.13. The biggest contributors to the decline in Germany's market were Siemens, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Telekom and insurance giants Allianz and Munich RE. Deutsche Lufthansa was down close to 5%, hit by sympathetic selling after news of U.S. Air's bankruptcy filing.
In Asia, the markets finished lower. In Japan, the Nikkei dropped 251.97 points, or 2.52%, to close at 9,747.82 mainly due to poor sentiment toward the bellwether U.S. economy and U.S. dollar weakness.
In Hong Kong, the market gave up 54.14 points, or 0.54%, to 9,959.92.