European stock markets slid lower on Monday, amid lingering fears of terrorism as reports further link Al Qaeda to the train bombs in Madrid on Mar. 11. Voters in Sunday's Spanish elections turned out in droves, and pushed the existing Conservative government aside, returning the Socialist party to power. The new government has already said it plans to remove the 1,000-plus Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30, if the situation there doesn't improve.
London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index ended 36.3 points lower, or 0.81%, to 4,431.10. The U.K. government -- edgy following the attacks in Madrid -- has heightened security measures. Royal & Sun, and Schroders, Amvescap, Legal & General are among the financial related stocks heading lower.
Germany's DAX index dipped 104.62 points lower, or 2.67%, to 3,810.76, as research firm IFW cut its German growth forecast due to the strong euro, and weak demand. Traders are splitting their concerns between the potential economic fallout from the Madrid bombings and news that Germany's February semiconductor sales fell, according to S&P's MarketScope. Infineon Technologies was lower on that report. Bayer AG was also lower, on expectations that it will report a fourth quarter loss.
In Paris, the CAC 40 finished 87.94 points off, or 2.4%, to 3,573.84. AGF, Thomson and Cap Gemini were among the lower stocks.
Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX dropped 157.83 points, or 1.84%, to 8,434.41. Canada's Nortel Networks, a maker of telephone equipment, suspended CFO Douglas Beatty and controller Michael Gollogly pending the completion of an independent review being undertaken by Nortel's audit committee. There is also speculation that Canada's central bank will cut its target interest rate in April after the economy unexpectedly lost jobs.
Asian markets finished mixed on Monday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index gained 155.15 points points, or 1.39%, to 11,317.90. Retailer Ito-Yokado rose 6.3% after it said it would start opening supermarkets in China, reports S&P's MarketScope.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index finished down 12.82 points, or 0.10%, to 12,919.41.