LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian stocks followed U.S. markets lower on Tuesday, with Japanese and Hong Kong indices notching up losses that mean they are down well over 10% from previous highs, placing them firmly in "correction" territory.
The Nikkei 225 closed down 4.18% at 14,008.47, down more than 14% since its year-end high.
SoftBank was one of just two gainers, rising 2% after a report about a meeting between the Japanese company's CEO and the Federal Communications Commission confirmed expectations the regulator probably won't permit its Sprint (S) unit in the U.S. to buy T-Mobile USA (TMUS).
The Hang Seng closed down 2.89% at 21,397.77, down more than 11 since Dec. 30. PC maker Lenovo sank more than 16% on analysts' downgrades in the wake of the two big-ticket deals it has announced over the past fortnight: the $2.3 billion purchase of the low-power server business of International Business Machines and the $2.91 billion purchase of the Motorola Mobility smartphone unit - minus the patents - of Google.
In Europe the FTSE in London had edged down 0.09% to 6,459.83 by mid-morning. In Frankfurt the DAX was down 0.78% at 9,114.80 and in Paris the CAC 40 largely held up, at 4,1077.22, just 0.01% down on the day. The European Union's statistics arm said euro-zone producer prices in December were down a less-than-expected 0.8% year-on-year and up 0.2% in the month, painting a picture of retreating deflationary pressures.
In the Netherlands, telecom Royal KPN was down 3.7% after missing fourth-quarter earnings forecasts. The company, a bid target last year of Carlos Slim's America Movil SAB de CV, said it will cut up to 2,000 jobs.
In the U.K. oil producer BP (BP) and gas producer BG Group both reported fourth-quarter earnings bulletins. BP's stock fell as the company reported that a closely watched measure of its earnings was down 28% year-on-year, partly because of its divestment program but also because of weaker refining margins. In BG's case, its shares rose as the company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.07 billion, mainly because of write-downs in Egypt, where political unrest disrupted exports, and said it would cut back on capital expenditure this year. BG had issued a profit warning last week.