Europe Stocks Close Sharply Lower as Global Sell-Off Continues

European shares accelerated losses to close lower on Monday, on ongoing concerns about an imminent scaling back of the U.S. Federal Reserve's asset purchases, plus liquidity fears in China.


The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed 1.5 percent lower at 1,115.39 points on Monday, amid concerns about a severe strain in liquidity conditions in China. This was the index's lowest close since November 29 and it is now down 1.6 percent year-to-date.

(Read More: China's Credit Squeeze Deals Fresh Blow to Stocks)

Furthermore, Monday's losses mean the U.K.'s FTSE 100, the French Cac 40 and the German Dax are all technically in correction territory (down 10 percent or more from their May highs).

Meanwhile, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said this weekend that it was time for central banks to exit their bond buying programs. In its annual report, the BIS said that central bank money had only "bought time" for policymakers.

(Read More: Stop 'Retarding' Economies With Loose Policy: BIS)

Several merger & acquisition discussions moved individual stocks on Monday. Shares in Germany's biggest cable company Kabel Deutschland closed around 1.66 percent higher after Britain's Vodafone confirmed it had decided to make a $14 billion takeover bid for the firm. This is the largest telecom-targeted deal by a European firm since Vimpelcom's $24.9 billion acquisition of Weather Investments in 2010.

(Read More: Vodafone Agrees Kabel Deutschland Deal)

Shares of Fiat closed about 3.80 percent higher because of ongoing reports that the firm will merger with its U.S. Chrysler unit, allowing the two to issue joint shares.

Meanwhile, NYSE Euronext announced that it had been notified by the European Commission that its proposed acquisition by IntercontinentalExchange has been approved.