TOKYO - Global shares fell Monday as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate meeting this week and amid concerns that Britain might vote next week to leave the European Union.
France's CAC 40 dropped 1.5 percent to 4,244 and Germany's DAX fell 1.3 percent to 9,704. Britain's FTSE 100 was down nearly 0.7 percent at 6,075.
U.S. shares were set to drift lower, with Dow and S&P futures down nearly 0.3 percent.
The U.S. Federal Reserve had been expected to start raising interest rates, but now appears likely to remain in a wait-and-see mode. The policy board holds meetings later this week, and investors are closely watching for comments by Chair Janet Yellen.
Speculation is rising over whether Britain will choose to remain in the 28-nation European Union in a June 23 referendum. Recent polls have shown the race is tight, with some indicating gains for the campaign that's in favor of leaving the EU.
"Brexit fears will continue to dominate sentiment as this crunch date looms," said Stephen Innes, analyst at OANDA.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 3.5 percent to 16,019.18 as the yen surged against the dollar, hurting exporters. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.9 percent to 1,979.06, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 2.7 percent to 20,475.93 and the Shanghai Composite dropped 3.2 percent to 2,833.07. Markets in Southeast Asia were also lower.
U.S. crude fell 47 cents to $48.60 a barrel, having shed $1.49, or 2.9 percent, to $49.07 a barrel in New York late Friday. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, fell 42 cents to $50.12 a barrel in London. Oil prices had reached 11-month highs in the last few days.
The dollar declined to 106.02 yen from 107.16 yen late Friday in Asia. The euro fell to $1.1269 from $1.1298.