Oil futures tumbled in early trading, extending last week's sharp sell-off in response to the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain its output level despite a supply glut and slumping prices.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January hit USD 63.72 a barrel -- the lowest level since July 2009 -- but later recovered to USD 68.38 a barrel.

Brent crude for January sank to an October 2009 low of USD 67.53 a barrel before rebounding to USD 71.94 a barrel.

"Brent oil bottomed out early this morning and the move higher is showing no signs of letting up, but energy still has a long way to go before it gets back to the pre-OPEC meeting level," said David Madden, market analyst at trading group IG.

Countering the downward trend, shares in German power giant E.ON soared 4.24 percent on the company's plans to spin off its conventional energy operations and focus on renewables.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index closed down 0.99 percent to 6,656.37 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 lost 0.17 percent compared with Friday's close to end the day at 9,963.51 points and the CAC 40 index in Paris dropped 0.29 percent to 4,377.33.

"General profit-taking after a stellar November and reassessment of the time frame of possible further action by the ECB is putting pressure on stocks," said Markus Huber, senior analyst at broker Peregrine & Black.

"There is also more disappointing news out of China," he noted.

The slowdown in Chinese growth, and hence oil demand, has also added to downward pressure on oil prices.

Among the biggest fallers at the close of trading in London were Tullow Oil, which sank 5.99 percent to 400.50 pence and miner BHP Billiton, which lost 2.18 percent to 1,484.00 pence.

In foreign exchange today, the euro rose to USD 1.2489 from USD 1.2443 late in New York on Friday.

The European single currency fell to 79.33 British pence from 79.54 pence, while the British pound strengthened to USD 1.5744 from USD 1.5641.

The beleaguered ruble meanwhile suffered its biggest one-day fall since the 1998 financial meltdown, dropping by nearly 9.0 percent at one point to 53.9 rubles against the dollar, as sliding oil prices increased worries about the economy in Russia, a major producer of crude.

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