Europe Markets

Europe Shares End Off Highs; Spain Requests Aid


European shares closed off their best levels Monday after a report showed that U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly contracted in November, but news that Spain had formally requested an EU bailout for its banks helped limit losses.

Spain formally requested a bailout for its struggling banks to be disbursed on December 12, according to Reuters.

The FTSEurofirst 300 Index eked out a small gain. The euro rose against the dollar.

European shares initially opened higher on Monday morning after purchasing managers' index (PMI) data was released in the euro zone showing a figure for November at 46.2 from October's 45.4. This marked a contraction for the sixteenth straight month but also showed the slump had eased to its highest level for eight months.

set a minimum price range of 30.2 to 38.1 percent and a maximum price range of 32.2 to 40.1 percent depending on the bond maturities on the 20 series of outstanding bonds.The country is hoping the terms will draw enough investors and unblock vital aid. According to the plan, Greece will aim to cut its overall indebtedness by spending 10 billion euros from its rescue package to buy back about 30 billion euros of bonds for less than it would have to pay if its creditors held them to maturity.

European finance ministers are holding a two-day meeting in Brussels to discuss discuss the terms of the Greek debt buy-back.

In stocks news, the was one of the major gainers across Europe. Cable and Wireless announced on Monday it was due to sell assets in their Monaco and Islands unit; shares were 5.5 higher. JPMorgan confirmed its overweight rating on Italian firm Mediaset although the bank actually downgraded its stock, shares were higher by 5.5 percent.

UBS shares were down after reports in the New York Times saying that it is nearing a settlement with U.K. and U.S. authorities over the libor scandal.

Energy giant BP is expected to outline growth plans on Monday for its oil and gas production arm in its first strategy update since striking a series of deals aimed at getting its Russian and U.S. operations, which make up half of the company's output, back on track.

Asian shares edged higher on Monday as revealed the fastest increase in manufacturing output in 13 months. HSBC's Purchasing Managers' Survey (PMI) rose to 50.5 in November from 49.5 in October. It was the first time since October 2011 that the survey crossed above 50 points.