LONDON (TheDeal) -- European stocks were lower on Tuesday as investors continued to fret about a Greek debt default and as Federal Reserve policy makers prepared to start a two-day meeting.
In London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.45% to 6,680.23. In Frankfurt, the DAX fell 1.13% to 10,860.57. In Paris, the CAC 40 gave up 0.81% to 4,774.51. The Athens Stock Exchange index was down 2.27%
Attitudes have recently hardened at opposing factions in the debt talks, with the Greece's finance minister reportedly telling a German newspaper that he won't present a new reform proposal at a Thursday meeting with his eurozone peers.
Greece needs €7.2 billion ($8.1 billion) of bailout funding. It must repay €1.5 billion owed to the International Monetary Fund in two weeks' time, but won't undertake the pension and other reforms demanded by its creditors. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Monday the "ball lies squarely in Greece's court," while Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused creditors of "pillaging" the Mediterranean nation. Reports suggest eurozone leaders may hold an emergency weekend summit if Thursday's meeting yields no breakthrough.
In the U.K., as expected, consumer price growth returned, with the annual inflation rate at 0.1% in May after a 0.1% decline in April.
On mainland Europe, analysts and investors' economic sentiment, as measured by the ZEW research institute, came in well below expectations in June in separate surveys for the eurozone and Germany.
In London, Royal Mail (ROYMF) fell after the U.K.'s media and communications regulator Ofcom said it will examine regulation of the former monopoly postal service to ensure the system in place "remains appropriate and sufficient to secure the universal postal service" after a letter-delivery competitor went bankrupt.
Construction-sector equipment hire business Ashtead (ASHTF) fell despite posting record-high full-year pretax profit of almost £490 million ($762.3 million), up 35%, and slightly above expectations
Homebuilder Crest Nicholson Holdings also fell after posting strong first-half revenue and earnings growth. It said the pace of earnings growth for the full year would slow to 20% to 25%, as measured by earnings per share, from 51% in the first half.
Whitbread (WTBCF) had largely erased initial losses by late morning after posting a below-forecast 4.3% increase in first-quarter same-store sales as growth slowed at its pub-restaurants. Overall sales rose 12.5% with its Costa Coffee chain remaining one of its star formats.
Temporary power generator maker APR Energy (APRYY) plunged more than 30% after warning that full-year profit will be significantly lower than expectations and that it may breach debt covenants.
In Paris, Engie (GDFZY), the former GDF Suez, slipped in Paris after the French government announced plans to sell a 0.9% stake.
Carmakers including Peugeot (PEUGF) and Renault (RNSDF) in Paris, Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Daimler (DDAIF) in Frankfurt, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU - Get Report) fell after May figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, or ACEA, showed growth in car registrations slowed to an annual pace of 1.3%, which the association said was the weakest growth since the sector's recovery began almost two years ago.
Asian indices were a sea of red. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 0.94% at 26,609.69. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index plunged 3.47% to 4,887.43.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.64% at 20,257.94 and the Topix fell 0.73% to 1,639.86.
In Taiwan, smartphone-maker HTC, which recently lower quarterly forecasts and slashed the value of assets, closed down 5.9% after it ruled out a merger with larger rival Asustek Computer (AKCPF).
In Sydney, Insurance Australia (IAUGY) closed up 4.3% on news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report) (BRK.B - Get Report) will pay A$500 million ($388 million) for a 3.7% equity stake. The deal comes with a 20% slice of IAG's premium payments and liabilities over a decade.