The U.S.-China trade war dented European stocks on Monday after tariffs from the world's biggest economies came into force and China canceled planned talks, triggering new fears of a protracted, costly trade dispute.
"There's potential for this to be a relatively protracted period of uncertainty given that it seems unlikely you're going to come to a quick conclusion where both sides are happy," said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.
Carmakers BMW Daimler and car parts maker Valeo were the top fallers on the DAX and the CAC 40 respectively.
Dealmaking drove the greatest moves across sectors, with Europe's biggest pay-TV group Sky soaring after Comcast's offer won an auction for the company.
Sky shares jumped 8.6 percent to 17.23 pounds, just below Comcast's cash offer of 17.28 pounds a share.
"Sky's importance in the UK remains and with Comcast likely to dictate the strategy going forwards we would expect a continued focus on telecoms, broadband and mobile," Macquarie analysts said.
"Perhaps this signals the start of renewed consolidation in the space," said Paul Gait, senior research analyst at Bernstein.
"Clearly Barrick want the management of Randgold and the 'premium' that could be attached to someone like (Rangold CEO) Mark Bristow."
British travel operator Thomas Cook Group sank 28.1 percent after slashing its profit outlook, blaming a hot summer in northern Europe for weaker holiday demand in the late August-September season.
Thomas Cook peer TUI fell 2.9 percent.