European and Asian stock markets slid Tuesday after the Bank of Japan decided against more stimulus to support the economy, ahead of a key meeting of the US Federal Reserve.
Europe's main indices were down between half and one percent in late morning deals, erasing gains won a day earlier on hopes of central bank action to boost the global economy.
Fresh slides for oil prices and share prices of heavyweight miners heaped further pressure on markets, while traders were also pricing in geopolitical concerns.
"Stocks fell on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan decided against adding to stimulus and concerns re-emerged over a drop in the price of oil," said Jasper Lawler, analyst at trading group CMC Markets.
"Talk of another North Korea nuclear weapons test hasn't helped market sentiment."
Lawler added that London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was weighed down also by a slump in miners' share prices after Chilean miner Antofagasta scrapped its dividend in "a sharp reminder of the industry's suffering after the hefty drop in metals prices".
Antofagasta plunged 10.5 percent, followed close behind by Anglo American which tumbled 8.1 percent in London morning deals.
- Bank of Japan inaction -
The Japanese central bank on Tuesday kept its monetary stimulus unchanged as policymakers digested the impact of the negative interest rates announced in January.
The decision was widely expected, although analysts predict Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his team will unleash more monetary firepower in the coming months to kick-start Japan's weak economy.
Tokyo shares closed down 0.68 percent after the announcement, while the yen, seen as a haven investment, strengthened against its major peers.
Investors were closely watching the BoJ as concerns mount that central banks are low on firepower to boost the sagging world economy.
Last week the European Central Bank unveiled dramatic new stimulus measures, while US Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday begin a meeting that will be closely watched for clues on whether it will delay further raising interest rates.
Financial markets have staged a comeback from their worst start to the year in living memory, but investors are still nervous about signs of weak global growth -- particularly in number two economy China.
"The elevated expectations over central banks maintaining their current policy measures to stimulate global growth amid the ongoing financial turmoil have offered a false lifeline to stock markets," said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.
He added in a note to clients that "fears still linger over central banks running out of ammunition to jumpstart global growth while China woes periodically sour risk appetite".
Slower economic growth in China has weighed heavily on prices paid for raw materials.
- Key figures around 1030 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent to 6,136.42 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 9,937.61
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.0 percent at 4,462.36
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,070.20
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.68 percent at 17,117.07 (close)
Shanghai - composite: UP 0.17 percent at 2,864.72 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.72 percent at 20,288.77 (close)
New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 17,229.13 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1090 from $1.1103 on Monday
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.02 yen from 113.78 yen