Stocks decline on export data
European stocks declined for a second day as German exports fell and investors awaited the start of the fourth-quarter US earnings season.
Asian shares and US index futures also retreated.
Vodafone gained after Verizon Communications said it may buy the UK mobile-phone operator's stake in Verizon Wireless. Vodafone climbed 2.6 per cent, its biggest increase in five months.
Debenhams decreased 3.3 per cent as the retailer cut its profit-margin forecast.
Intesa Sanpaolo and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena dropped after JPMorgan Chase cut its recommendations on the shares.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.2 per cent to 286.06 at 8.06am in London.
The measure climbed to the highest level since February 2011 last week after US lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget.
"Expectations of the economic data for the fourth quarter of 2012 and the possible headwinds that lie ahead in 2013 aren't instilling much confidence in traders and instead are putting them on a cautious footing," Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at Capital Spreads in London, said.
Standard and Poor's 500 Index futures dropped 0.3 per cent today, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.7 per cent.
Alcoa, the largest American aluminum producer, will unofficially start the US fourth-quarter earnings-reporting season after the market closes today.
Fourth-quarter profits at S&P 500 companies grew an average 2.9 per cent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Excluding financial companies, income increased 0.5 per cent.