U.S. shares, which opened strongly following Friday's strong finish, were down. The Dow Jones index of leading shares fell 31.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,912.43.
The losses on Wall Street prompted some selling in Europe before the close after earlier strong gains in the wake of the Chinese stimulus package.
The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended up only 38.96 points, or 0.9 percent, at 4,403.92, while Germany's DAX was 87.07 points, or 1.8 percent, higher at 5,025.53. France's CAC-40 was 36.63 points, or 1.1 percent, higher at 3,505.75.
Investors became increasingly concerned that the economic recession in the U.S. will be deeper than anticipated and could lead to some high-profile casualties.
"That's likely to hold any recovery somewhat in check," said Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors.