Europe Markets

Europe shares close mixed ahead of Yellen report

Europe shares close mixed ahead of Yellen report

European stocks closed mixed on Monday, steadying after a two-session bounce, as investors awaited a speech from new Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen which could shed light on the pace at which the central bank will trim stimulus.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed flat at 1,300.09 points, with the autos and technology sectors posting big gains and with cosmetics maker L'Oreal gaining on expectations it will buy back its shares owned by Nestle.

There were reports on Friday that Nestle had told L'Oreal of its intentions to sell its 30 percent stake in the latter; shares of the cosmetics maker closed up 4.5 percent.

Nokia saw healthy gains in trade - provisionally closing up 2.8 percent - after a patent settlement was agreed with Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC. The deal will also explore future potential collaborative opportunities, the pair said in a press release on Monday.

Meanwhile, Peugeot-Citroen shares finished the day up 0.1 percent after reports that a deal for China's Dongfeng Motor Group to buy a stake in the French auto firm is nearing completion. Reuters reported that the Chinese company has asked for a trading halt in its stock as well as detailing that Peugeot negotiators were in China this week.

U.S. stocks mostly fell on Monday after Wall Street's best weekly performance this year, as investors waited to hear from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who makes her first monetary policy report to lawmakers on Tuesday.

(Read more: What Congress islikely to hear from Yellen)

In other news, U.K. bank announced adjusted profit before tax for 2013 of £5.2 billion ($8.5 billion) on Monday, ahead of its full earnings release on Tuesday.

The lender also said that statutory profit before tax would come in at £2.9 billion. Analysts at Investec said that its full-year results were a "fraction" ahead of its own expectations. Shares closed higher by 1.2 percent on Monday.

(Read More: Barclays announces $8.5 billion profit a day early)

Meanwhile in Switzerland, 50.3 percent of voters backed a measure to cap immigration, putting a ceiling on the number of foreign migrants – including citizens of the EU.

The referendum proposals could irk multinationals and call into question its laws on the free movement of people with the European Union.

(Read More: Is Switzerland closed for business?)

Elsewhere, French President Francois Hollande began his state visit to the U.S. on Monday.

(Read More: French president coming alone to White House this week)

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