European shares closed lower on Monday, with the decline led by the U.K.'s FTSE 100 after weak trade data from China and concerns about the Scottish independence vote.
The FTSE 100 closed provisionally lower by 0.4 percent. It was pressured by heavily weighted mining stocks like Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Antofagasta. The mining sector is heavily exposed to China, where an August trade report showed imports fell by an annualized 2.4 percent—instead of rising by 1.7 percent as forecast.
Investors in the U.K. are also nervous ahead of the Scottish independence referendum next week. The pro-independence camp appears to have gained recently and there is widespread uncertainty about what a "yes" vote could do for business.
The uncertainty hit major U.K. banks like Lloyds, which closed lower on Monday by around 2.4 percent.
"With 10 days left before the vote, there'll be plenty in the City scrambling to work out 'what if' scenarios, as the prospect of the 'yes' camp winning was initially considered a pipe dream," Evan Lucas, a market strategist at IG Markets said in a research note.
Read MoreScotland: Do the Ayes have it?
Meanwhile, AB Foods, the FTSE 100-listed owner of Primark, closed more than 5 percent lower. The retailer warned of weak sugar prices and a hit from sterling strength in its full-year guidance on Monday.
The German DAX outperformed on Monday, closing provisionally 0.1 percent higher. The index was boosted by upbeat German trade data for July, which showed a 4.7 percent surge for exports—the biggest rise since May 2012.
Wall Street stocks were mostly lower on Monday, after a fifth week of gains lifted the to a record high.
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