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Europe Shares Close Lower After Last Week's Highs

European shares closed lower on Monday, having pared losses after retail sales data in the U.S. came in better-than-expected. However, shares remained near the five-year highs hit in last week's global rally.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally down 0.3 percent at 1,230.12 points on Monday, near to Friday's five-year high of 1,238.25.

Late in the session, European markets were boosted by the news that U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose 0.1 percent in April, after a 0.5 percent decline in March. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected sales to slip 0.3 percent in April.

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European investors also awaited the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting, set to take place in Brussels on Monday evening.

(Read More: Market Can Withstand Deposit Rate Cut: Visco)

Standard Chartered Takes a Tumble

Banks were the worst performing sector after U.S. hedge fund-er Carson Block said he had placed a bet against Standard Chartered. The Asia-focus bank closed nearly 2 percent lower on the news.

(Read More: Carson Block: Why We Are Betting Against StanChart)

HSBC, another U.K.-listed, Asia-focused bank closed lower on the news, having taken an additional hit when Investec downgraded it to "reduce" from "buy".

However, Lonmin shares closed nearly 3 percent higher after the platinum miner raised its outlook on production.