Europe Shares Close Mixed as Miners Drag
European shares closed mixed on Monday as weakness in mining stocks was offset by gains in sectors such as utilities and real estate.
Investors took comfort from a G-20 meeting, which urged action to address a weak global economy, and by the lack of public criticism of Japan's policy to weaken the yen. That led to a 2 percent rally in Japanese stocks and further weakness in the yen.
U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Presidents' Day holiday.
Mining stocks dropped after 13 people were wounded in fighting at a mine in South Africa. Shares of Anglo American dropped nearly 3 percent.
The euro weakened against the dollar on Monday afternoon after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi sounded a dovish tone on inflation and warned the recovery in the euro zone remained weak.
With stocks near multi-year highs, European investors may have to wait until later in the week for any major catalyst.
In Italy, the final week of political campaigning gets underway before elections are held on February 24 and 25. The elections are seen as a key risk event.
Analysts fear that the tight political race in the country could result in a hung parliament, an outcome that could easily derail Italy's already-fragile economy.
Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said he expects sovereign yields in both Spain and Italy to push higher as uncertainty once again surrounds the euro zone, which, in turn could lead to the ECB rolling out more bond-buying with its program called Outright Monetary Transactions.
Elsewhere, European Union officials are considering strict new curbs on bankers' pay despite the objections of the U.K., the Financial Times reported on Sunday. According to the report, the reforms would see strict limits on bonuses that exceed an individual's salary, a move backed by a majority of nations, including Germany and France.
In stocks news, shares in French bank Natixis jumped 24 percent with heavy volume after the firm announced a restructuring plan and Citigroup upgraded its outlook on the company to a "buy" rating.
Danish brewer Carlsberg reported a fourth-quarter miss on Monday. Shares slumped 5.8 percent as the firm announced weaker-than-expected profit for the quarter and ditched its long-term margin forecasts.
A five-day strike at Spanish airline Iberia began on Monday with dozens of flights being canceled. Staff are holding the strike due to planned job cuts at the airline; shares in IAG, which owns the airline, were down 2 percent.