LONDON, March 18 European stocks edged lower on Tuesday, led by truckmaker Scania after it rejected a takeover offer and with traders apprehensive about the next stage in the Ukraine crisis.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.2 percent to 1,295.40 points, easing back after a 1 percent rise on Monday.
Scania fell 3.4 percent, the FTSEurofirst 300's top faller, after rejecting a takeover offer from Volkswagen, saying it was too low.
The relatively peaceful passing of a referendum over the status of Crimea, which the West denounced as illegal, helped to buoy global equity markets on Monday. Gains were extended after the United States and Europe revealed sanctions that traders described as "modest", with the measures not seen as escalating the crisis in the short term.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said he was moving forward with plans for Crimea's accession into Russia in a move that could provoke a sterner rebuke from the West.
"I think the sanctions on Monday weren't as penal as people had originally thought... but people will still be sensitive to headline risk," Ioan Smith, managing director at KCG, said.
"We don't know the next stage, but as long as there is continued Western opposition to what has happened, it's difficult to see any near-term conclusion."