LONDON, Dec 20 (AFP): European stock markets lost ground Tuesday after overnight falls on Wall Street and as investors continue to cash in recent profits in the run-up to Christmas, dealers said.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares slid 0.11 per cent to 5,533.70 points in early trading, Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.14 per cent to 5,342.96 points and in Paris the CAC 40 eased 0.06 per cent to 4,691.86.
The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index of leading eurozone shares lost 0.15 per cent to 3,545.77 points.
The euro stood at 1.1962 dollars.
In Wall Street trading Monday, US stocks had lost ground amid heavy selling in the tech sector.
In trading in London Tuesday, the share price of BAE Systems fell 1.36 per cent to 345.5 pence after broker Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to 'neutral' from 'buy'.
The defence group had announced Monday that its commercial aerospace division was expected to perform worse in 2005 than in the previous year because of problems in the regional aircraft division.
Shares in Old Mutual dropped 0.80 per cent to 157.5 pence after the Anglo-South African insurer said that investors holding 62.5 per cent of the shares in Swedish rival Skandia have accepted its hostile takeover bid.
The deadline for the 4.8-billion-euro (5.6-billion-dollar) offer has been extended to January 12, 2006.
Old Mutual had lodged its offer in September for 43.60 kronor (4.70 euros, 5.90 dollars) per Skandia share, valuing Skandia at 44.9 billion kronor.
In Stockholm, Skandia shares rose by 1.09 per cent to 46.20 kronor.