In initial deals, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip firms shed almost 0.7 percent to 7,351.82 points.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 lost about 0.8 percent to 12,031.12 points and the CAC 40 in Paris sank nearly 0.9 percent to 5,035.38 points compared with the closing levels on Monday.
“Investors rushed to the safe haven assets on Tuesday after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan,” said analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya at London Capital Group.
Pyongyang fired the missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, in a major escalation that triggered global alarm and a furious response from Tokyo.
The rocket test is the latest in a series of recent provocations, testing US President Donald Trump, his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, raising fresh fears of a conflict.