LONDON (The Deal) -- European and Asian markets headed down Monday, taking a lead from Wall's Street's reversal Friday and renewed geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. Moscow's Micex Composite fell over 1.6% to 1,359.83 by the end of the morning. But markets were trailing across Western Europe too, with Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid and London all in negative territory.
A key question following Nasdaq's hiccup at the end of the week: Are tech stocks overvalued? In London, U.K. chip designer ARM Holdings ARMH sank 2.3% to 973 pence, while in Frankfurt its German rival Infineon was the biggest faller in the blue-chip DAX index, down 2.2% at 8.55 euros a share.
London was down 0.35% mid-morning, at 6,672, while the DAX, more sensitive to events in Ukraine, was down 1.04% at 9,594.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. In Paris, media group Vivendi made a 1.3% gain after deciding to sell its wireless services unit SFR to preferred bidders Numericable and its backer, Altice, for $23.3 billion. That decision was announced at the weekend after Vivendi shunned a string of alternatives presented by telecom and construction conglomerate Bouygues. Numericable, a cable TV provider, soared over 13.8% to 30.09 euros, despite announcing that it will fund part of the price with $6.44 billion rights issue to existing shareholders.
Numericable's controlling shareholder, cable investor Altice, has agreed to buy the 34.6% stake in Numericable held by the company's British and American private-equity backers, Cinven and Carlyle Group, taking its stake to 74.6%. It's paying in cash and shares, so Carlyle and Cinven will end up with a stake in Amsterdam-listed Altice. Altice was also up 9% at 32.70 euros.
In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.53% at 4,461.
Over in East Asia, doubts about technology and social media stocks also weighed on the markets. Hong Kong was down 0.59% at 22,377.15, while Japan's Nikke i225 closed down 1.69% at 14,808.85. Chinese markets were closed for a public holiday.