European stock markets were mixed at the start of trading on Wednesday as investors balanced Britain's upcoming general election against events across the eurozone.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.03 percent to 6,925.43 points on the eve of Britain's most unpredictable election in living memory, with fears of weeks of brinksmanship as the two major parties struggle to cobble together workable coalitions.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index opened with a gain of 0.44 percent to 11,377.58 points while in Paris the CAC 40 slipped 0.12 percent to 4,968.14 compared with Tuesday's close.
Eurozone stock markets had tumbled Tuesday on fears of an early end to the European Central Bank's QE stimulus programme and a spike in tensions over the Greek crisis.
Asian stocks lost steam on Wednesday, with most leading markets in retreat after US indices had slumped on worries about surging oil prices and growing tensions over the Greek debt crisis, analysts said.
There are growing concerns about the Greek government's ability to repay the one billion euros it owes to the IMF in two payments this week and next, raising the spectre of a possible Greek default and catastrophic exit from the euro.