European and Asian stocks declined, as rising tensions in the Middle East as well as Ukraine rattled investors and global indices. Escalating violence in Iraq – where insurgents are reportedly tightening their grip in northern and western regions -- weighed on energy-related stocks in London. Among the biggest decliners were Petrofac Ltd., a provider of oilfield services to the oil and gas industries, and Scottish engineering company Weir Group plc. In Paris, natural-gas distributor GDF Suez SA fell after the government sold a 3.1% stake in the company to help it fund the purchase of 20% of Alstom SA, clearing the way for General Electric Co.’s purchase of Alstom’s energy assets. In Madrid, shares in Spain’s biggest builder, Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, retreated as its holding company, Corporacion Financiero Alba, whittled down its stake by a further 3.7%.