European stock markets finished mostly lower after Monday's gains and ahead of the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting Thursday. Many are expecting the bank will cut interest rates in the eurozone to help the struggling economic recovery.
London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index added 6.1 points, or 0.14%, to 4,412.8, amid news that anti-terror police in England arrested several individuals. Volumes remained thin amid light newsflow and despite better-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence data. Energy stocks and utilities provided much of the support, offsetting weak financials. Manchester United failed to score with investors, despite beating expectations for the first half. News that U.S. millionaire Malcolm Glazer will not bid for the club weighed.
Germany's DAX index shed 7.21 points, or 0.19%, to 3,874.04. Among the stocks on the move, Infineon edged higher after Morgan Stanley upgraded it to overweight from underweight.
In Paris, the CAC 40 dipped 14.08 points, or 0.39%, to 3,620.1. Alstom rose on hopes the European Commission will render a favorable opinion on its restructuring plan.
In Asia, markets finished mixed. The Nikkei 225 index lost 24.56 points, or 0.21%, to 11,693.68. Investors became nervous about the recent rally and opted to take profits in gainers such as banks and property firms. The Japanese yen's strength against the U.S. dollar was also depressing sentiment and domestic investors took to the sidelines ahead of the end of Japan's financial year on Wednesday.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index jumped 214.05, or 1.72%, to 12,641.39, tracking Monday's gains on Wall Street. The top gainer was COSCO Pacific, which went up on bargain hunting after falling for three consecutive trading days. Hutchison Whampoa gained support after it says it will spin-off its global telecom operations to be listed in Hong Kong.