European stock markets slumped Monday as technology stocks weighed on benchmarks across the continent after a series of broker downgrades hit sentiment toward the sector and sparked fears of a broader sell off.
Monday's price action came at the opening of an action packed week in the economic data department, with inflation figures due for the U.S. and U.K., while the latest monetary policy announcements are also due from the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the Bank of Japan.
Downgrades to earnings forecasts and analysts ratings in the tech sector, particularly for Apple AAPL, hit markets to begin with but the prospect of another rate hike from the Fed later in the week may also be hampering performance.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.20% to 7,514 in London. In Frankfurt, the DAX dropped 0.85% to 12,706 while in Paris, the CAC 40 fell 1.11% to close at 5,240.
Over in southern Europe benchmarks were also swimming deeply in the red with the FTSE MIB in Milan and the IBEX in Madrid nursing losses of 0.80% and 1.2% respectively.
Top fallers in the tech sector included STMicroelectronics (STM) , which lost nearly 9% in Milan, IT firm Atos (AEXAF) which shed more than 4% and enterprise software firm SAP (SAP) , which dropped close to 4%.
In London the top faller on the FTSE 100 was Mexican gold miner Fresnillo (FNLPF) after is shares dropped close to 5%.
It was tracked from a distance by shares of Randgold (GOLD) , which dropped more than 2%, as the entire commodities space came under pressure due to broadly weaker materials prices.
Copper, iron ore, lead, nickel, zinc and aluminum all dropped 1% or more during the London trading session.
Separately, Acacia Mining, a spin-out from Barrick Gold (ABX) , saw its stock fall by a further 12% Monday after it updated the market on an investigation by the Tanzanian government.
Tanzania's government banned the export of various precious metals concentrates earlier this year and opened an investigation into the historical sales declared by Acacia and its subsequent tax payments.
Monday, Tanzania announced the findings of the investigation, by accusing Acacia of having under declared its sales and underpaid its taxes by an amount that runs into the tens of billions of dollars.
Elsewhere on the markets, crude oil prices rose, with Brent adding 1.4% to trade at $48.80 per barrel around the time that stock markets closed.