European shares closed higher Monday as investors reacted to the results of European Parliament elections and presidential elections in Ukraine. Markets in the U.K. and the U.S. are both closed for a public holiday.
Stocks on the Italian FTSE MIB Index soared 3.5 percent higher at the open as European elections in the country showed strong support for new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his center-left Democratic Party.
Results have started to trickle in from voting that has been held across the European Union (EU) over the last three days. Early indications show that centrist, pro-European parties will hold a broad majority of 751 seats in any new parliament - which forms the legislative arm of the union.
However, anti-EU fringe parties have seen a strong showing which could hinder any efforts to pass future policies. Euroskeptic parties made big gains in France, the U.K., Greece and Denmark.
Meanwhile, presidential elections were held in Ukraine following six months of political turmoil in the country. Billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who is pro-Europe, has claimed victory after exit polls showed he would win 55 percent of the vote. He has vowed to end conflict in the east of the country with pro-Russian rebels and align the country further to Europe.
This helped boost sentiment in the rest of Europe with investors hoping that the win will improve chances of peace across the region. Germany's DAX Index hit all-time high on Monday morning, reaching 9,893 points although trading volumes remained thin. The index has been affected in recent months as many stocks on the bourse have exposure to the eastern European countries.
On the data front, a June consumer confidence survey for Germany continues to show some promising improvement. The forward-looking indicator from the GfK market research group gave a reading of 8.5, the same figure seen in the last four months and the highest since January 2007.
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