London's top flight index was languishing in the red as weak economic data from China and a profits plunge at HSBC helped drive the market lower.
Negativity spread across European markets after the latest Chinese manufacturing data showed activity shrank for the 14th month in a row in April.
The FTSE 100 Index was 52.2 points lower at 6190.9, as HSBC also posted a sharp drop in profits for the first three months of the year after it was hit by "extreme levels of volatility" in financial markets in January and February.
The banking giant was nearly 1% down after reporting an 18% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to $5.43bn for the first quarter.
On a bottom-line basis, profits fell 14% to $6.11bn.
However, shares in the bank had risen in Hong Kong trading as the profits fall was not as bad as most analysts had expected.
Across Europe, Germany's Dax was 1.5% lower and the Cac 40 in France slipped 1.1%, as they felt the force of the manufacturing update from China, which came in below market expectations at 49.4 last month, according to the Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI).
Miner Anglo American was the biggest faller on the London market, as it was hit in the wake of the disappointing economic results from the Far East, falling more than 7% or 57.2p to 707.2p.
Commodity stocks were also on the back foot despite the price of oil rising 0.4% to 45.99 US dollars a barrel.