London - European shares fell on Tuesday following strong gains in the previous session, with Germany underperforming after reporting industrial orders unexpectedly fell in August.
Data showed that German industrial orders dropped mainly because demand from non-euro zone countries weakened. Holidays also had an effect.
Volkswagen came under pressure again, falling around 3% after Handelsblatt reported that VW had admitted 8 million vehicles were fitted with software capable of cheating diesel emissions tests in the European Union. Its sales in South Korea also fell.
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said that the data and problems at Volkswagen partly explained the underperformance of Germany's blue-chip DAX index.
"The German economy isn't fully booming. There aren't significant problems, but there are stutters. And if the Volkswagen scandal deepens, then Brand Germany might lose its appeal," Rundle said, saying that the data wasn't too concerning in the longer term.
"They have an artificially weak currency, and monetary policy should remain loose. Weaker data should ultimately mean the ECB maintains ultra-easy monetary policy, which will be good for Germany."
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 fell 0.5% to 1 405.41 points. The DAX was down 0.7%.
The FTSEurofirst 300 had rallied 3% on Monday, in its biggest single session rise since August.
The biggest decline on the index was by Glencore. It fell 4.7% after surging 21% in the previous session, its best daily gain ever.
Hopes of asset sales and comments that output cuts would lift copper prices helped to support Glencore's shares on Monday, but a fresh target price cut by HSBC suggested that recent volatility could prevail in the near term.
Shares in TeliaSonera fell 3% to 43.57 crowns. A newspaper reported that US authorities may seek damages as high as $961m from the Swedish telecoms operator in relation to an investigation of alleged corruption in Uzbekistan.
Bouygues Telecom rose 2.5%. France's third-largest mobile operator said it aimed to improve its profit margins and sales in coming years as it defends its standalone strategy.