In London, the FTSE 100 struggled to stay over the 6,000 mark and by late morning was down 1.34% at 5,999.81. In Frankfurt, the DAX fell 1.12% to 10,015.17, and in Paris, the CAC 40 was down 1.16% at 4,507.55.
In London, miners including Anglo American (AAUKY), Glencore (GLCNF) and Fresnillo (FNLPF) gave up some of the ground they'd regained on Tuesday as the Chinese selloff jeopardized demand. Copper producer Antofagasta (ANFGY) extended Tuesday's steep slide as the price of the commodity tumbled.
Gaming company Paddy Power (PDYPF) was up in the high teens in London and Dublin after announcing an agreement in principle to forge an all-stock merger with rival Betfair (BTFRF), whose shares were up more than 16%. Rivals William Hill (WIMHF) and Ladbrokes (LDBKY) fell sharply on the prospect of the creation of a competitor worth more than $9 billion.
Infrastructure services company Carillion (CIOIF) fell more than 2% after posting stagnant first-half pretax profit of £67.5 million because of the cost of new contracts and reaffirming full-year sales and profit expectations. It said first-half revenue rose 21% to £2.26 billion as it increased the dividend by 2%.
Struggling rival Balfour Beatty (BAFBF), with whom Carillion held bad-tempered merger talks a year ago, also fell.
JC Flowers-backed OneSavings Bank (OSVBF) rose almost 6% in London after posting a 60% increase in pretax profit to £47.6 million in the first half and announcing an increased return on equity.
Asian equities were mixed, with most Chinese indices extending losses despite Tuesday's rate cut and relaxation of banks' reserve requirements.
The Shanghai Composite index closed down 1.27% at 2,927.29. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down 1.52% at 21,080.39.
Cnooc (CEO) closed up 1.9% in Hong Kong after reporting a 13.5% increase in first-half oil production and a 56% slide in net profit to 14.7 billion yuan ($2.3 billion). It said prices fell 46% in dollar terms in the period from a year earlier.
In Tokyo, stocks defeated a six-day losing streak. The Nikkei 225 jumped 3.2% to close at 18,376.83, and the Topix moved in tandem to close up 3.23% at 1,478.97.
The key data today is U.S. durable goods orders for July, with analysts looking for a 0.4% decline after growth of 3.4% month-on-month in June. A weaker reading would likely fuel mounting expectations that the Fed will delay a rate rise beyond the September start data previously seen as likely because of global economic uncertainties.