In the UK the FTSE 100 dropped 77 points, or 1.4%, to 5,265.2, its lowest closing price for six weeks. The fall was paced by oils and miners on concerns the rising trend in commodity prices may stall after a warning on oil output from BHP Billiton.
Shares in the Anglo-Australian miner and oil producer fell 38.50p, or 4.6%, to 804p after it said net oil and gas production could be as much as 8% down from previous 2006 guidance, partly due to damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Cairn Energy also performed badly dropping 119p, or 6.49%, to 1716p, as news emerged that four of its top executives have sold huge chunks in the group. Antofagasta was another loser as it fell 74p, or 4.81%, to 1463p.
There were few risers today though food groups seemed to make up most of the bullish stocks. Associated British Foods led the way with a gain of 13p, or 1.63%, to 812p, while WH Smiths had the biggest gain of 22.75p, or 6.67%, to 364p.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 13.28 points, or 0.1%, to 10,230.19, in morning trading as McDonald's reported results that exceeded analysts' forecasts, spurring optimism that profit growth can withstand higher fuel costs and interest rates.
McDonald's, the world's largest restaurant chain, has risen $0.48, or 1.5%, to $32.15 for the biggest gain in the Dow. The company said in a preliminary statement that third-quarter profit was $0.56 a share. McDonald's will release its final results on October 20.
Energy shares have been the biggest drag as crude oil for November delivery slipped 1.1% to $63.40 a barrel. Exxon, the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, has lost $0.73 to $58.21. Chevron, the No.2 US oil company, has so far dropped $1.09 to $59.87.
Frontline, the world's biggest oil-tanker company by capacity, has also dropped $1.94 to $37.20, as analysts warn the company's per-share earnings may trail estimates as shipping rates decline over the next year.IFAonline
Our weekly heads-up for advisers
Cautious, Balanced & Dynamic Growth
Cowardly, boring or sensible
Latest news and analysis