Europe's main stock indices slid on Monday as a strong rebound in Shanghai due to a change of trading rules failed to push markets higher around the world.
While European indices pushed higher in late morning trading, they pulled back during the afternoon with London's FTSE-100 down 0.3 percent.
"...an overall lack of major news and data have provided little impulses for any market moves" in Europe, said trader Markus Huber at City of London Markets.
After the turmoil that swept global trading floors in the first two months of the year, some stability has now returned to world markets.
March has seen a broad uptick, with sentiment boosted after the Federal Reserve lowered its interest rate hike forecast last week.
But analysts said markets were having trouble maintaining their rally as dealers eye the long Easter break that starts this Friday.
"Trading volume should be on the low side during this shortened trading week as most major markets are closed for trading on Good Friday later this week," said Huber.
Meanwhile, Wall Street opened narrowly lower, with the Dow slipping 0.06 percent in the first five minutes of trading.
"The major averages are essentially flat amid a flurry of M&A deals," said advisors at Wells Fargo, in particular including Marriott International's raised bid to acquire Starwood Hotels, overtaking an offer from China's Anbang.
Starwood rose 4.0 percent after Marriott upped its to bid to $13.6 billion, compared to the $13.2 billion offered last week by a consortium led by China's Anbang Insurance.
Shares in Marriott fell by 1.2 percent.
- Shanghai sparkles -
Chinese equities surged after authorities relaxed rules on borrowing to buy shares, but other Asian markets struggled as oil ticked lower. Tokyo was shut for a public holiday.
Star performer Shanghai climbed above 3,000 for the first time in over two months, meaning the bourse has now rebounded by 13 percent from a January low.
The Chinese market jumped 2.15 percent after authorities loosened rules on margin trading for the first time since last summer's collapse in mainland markets.
Most Asian equities seem to be continuing their winning streak," added Deutsche Bank analysts in a research note to clients.
"Much of today's... market rally, while building on momentum from last week, is also driven by the fact that policymakers have loosened controls on margin trading."
Margin trading, through which investors only need to deposit a small proportion of the value of their trades, was behind a boom that sent the Shanghai bourse up 150 percent in 12 months, before it plummeted from last June after regulators moved to tighten rules on the practice.
The dollar continued to struggle against the yen after plunging last week in response to the Fed -- citing weakness in the global economy -- saying it would lower its outlook for raising borrowing costs this year.
- Key figures around 1330 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,169.04 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 9,915.44
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 at 4,437.54
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,044.80
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.06 percent at 17,591.61
New York - S&P 500: 0.08 percent at 2,047.87
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,795.41
Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.15 percent at 3,018.80 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.1 percent at 20,684.15 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: Closed for holiday
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1273 from $1.1270 on Friday
Dollar/yen: UP at 111.75 yen from 111.55 yen