A near-1% fall on America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average soon after opening hampered attempts at a rebound on the FTSE 100 Index in London.
Early session gains of more than 30 points soon gave way, with the Footsie later down 11.9 points at 5051.1.
It was also a mixed picture across Europe, with the Dax in Germany down 0.9% while France’s Cac 40 lifted 0.4%.
World markets are struggling to shrug off growth concerns, with the Eurozone remaining at the center of attention after Germany’s short-selling ban bombshell last week.
The bail-out of one of Spain’s biggest regional banks over the weekend has also sparked fresh worries about the strength of the Eurozone, sending the single currency down 1.1% to just under 1.24 dollars.
It also fell against the pound, with sterling up 0.8% to €1.16.
Commodity stocks accounted for much of today’s Footsie U-turn, with early gains turning into further losses for heavily-weighted miners and oil firms.
The biggest fall was delivered by BP after it revealed the cost of cleaning up the mammoth spill in the Gulf Of Mexico had hit around $760m (€614m) so far.
The cost has soared by $135m (€109m) in the past week alone and BP said it was still too early to put a final figure on the bill, causing BP shares to fall 18.8p to 487.9p.
Oil prices were hovering around 70 US dollars a barrel after recent declines and Royal Dutch Shell was under pressure, down 29.5p at 1715p.
The risers board in London was led by household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, which added 76p to 3260p.
Retailer Marks & Spencer rose 4.3p to 331.4p ahead of its annual results on Tuesday.
In the second tier, a broker note from JP Morgan Cazenove helped house builders make advances.
Pork products supplier Cranswick was also on the rise – up 3% with a 23.5p gain to 818.5p – after it reported record annual profits of £43.8m (€51m), up 26% on a year earlier.