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European stocks fell to a three-week low, paring a 12th straight month of gains, as investors awaited reports on American consumer confidence and business activity. U.S. index futures and Asian shares retreated.
The Stoxx 600 slid 0.9 percent to 300.89 at 10:17 a.m. in London, the lowest level since May 6. The benchmark gauge is heading for a drop of 0.8 percent this week as investors weighed the likelihood of the Federal Reserve taking steps to reduce monetary stimulus.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of U.S. consumer sentiment climbed in May to 83.7, the highest level since July 2007, according to the median projection of economists. That matches this month's preliminary reading and follows 76.4 in April. A separate release may show business activity was little changed. The MNI Chicago Report's business barometer rose to 50 in May, from 49 the previous month, economists forecast . A reading of 50 is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
In China, a report tomorrow may show manufacturing stagnated in May. A purchasing managers' index compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing fell to 50 from 50.6 in April, according to the median forecast of economists.
Roche slipped 1.3 percent to 238.60 Swiss francs after a study in south-east Asia showed the effectiveness of its Tamiflu drug remained unchanged when the dosage was doubled for patients with severe influenza.
A gauge of health-care companies in the Stoxx 600 retreated 1.1 percent to the lowest in almost a month. France's Sanofi declined 1.8 percent to 82.47 euros, while Britain's GlaxoSmithKline Plc dropped 1.3 percent to 1,699.5 pence.
Salzgitter slid 3.4 percent to 29.95 euros after Nomura Holdings Inc. cut its rating on the shares to reduce from neutral, saying it expects increased costs at the German company's steel division.
KPN lost 3.1 percent to 1.51 euros, a one-month low. Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the Dutch phone operator partly owned by Carlos Slim's America Movil SAB to reduce from hold.
Telecom Italia SpA (TIT) fell 3.1 percent to 61.7 euro cents after UBS AG said the carrier's plan to spin off its network unit may be a lengthy process. Telecom Italia's decision to retain the active component of its copper network may complicate the regulatory review, the brokerage wrote in a note, reiterating a sell rating.
PostNL rallied 7 percent to 2.11 euros, the biggest jump since Feb. 25. The company said it expects so-called underlying operating income of 50 million euros ($65 million) to 90 million euros in 2013, compared with a previous forecast of 20 million euros to 60 million euros.
FTSE 100 6,584.89 -72.10 -1.08%
CAC 40 3,950.05 -46.26 -1.16%
DAX 8,318.18 -82.02 -0.98%
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