European sentiment failed to get a lift from some of Asia's gains seen overnight; with its markets closing mixed to higher despite a disappointing manufacturing purchasing manager's index (PMI) from China. The China Caixin manufacturing PMI for April fell to 49.4 from March's 49.7, coming in below a Reuters forecast for 49.9. Levels below 50 indicate contraction. The new data, however, did weigh on U.S. markets, which were trading in the red on Tuesday.
Basic resources stocks took a hit on the back of the latest China data, closing down 6.4 percent as a sector. Anglo American shares slumped 12.8 percent, while Rio Tinto, Glencore and BHP Billiton all closed over 6 percent lower.
Precious metals firm Fresnillo, slipped over 3.5 percent despite reporting that it had achieved record gold and silver production in 2015, and said that 2016 will "see a turnaround" after "operational challenges" last year.
A sharp fall in the price of oil also weighed on markets, as rising production from the North Sea and Middle East triggered renewed concerns of a global supply glut among investors, Reuters reported. Both Brent and U.S. crude were off 2 percent or more at Europe's close, trading at $44.89 and $43.60 respectively. This caused stocks to tumble, with Tullow Oil sinking 11.6 percent.