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Europe ends lower as Greece, Russia weigh

Europe ends lower as Greece, Russia weigh

European equities closed lower on Monday, as negotiations over Greece's bailout program continued and the crisis in Ukraine re-escalated.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally ended around 0.6 percent lower, reversing some of the heavy selling seen earlier in the session just before market close.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

London's FTSE 100 outperformed its European counterparts, closing unofficially 0.1 lower.

FTSE 100-listed miners like Randgold Resources Fresnillo, Glencore, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta were the best performers on the index after Randgold said it would increase its final dividend for 2014 by 20 percent. However, it also posted a 17 percent fall in 2014 profit Monday, hurt by lower gold prices.

HSBC closed around 1.6 percent lower after the bank admitted to failings at its Swiss subsidiary on Sunday, in response to media reports that it helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets.

A re-escalation in the Russia-Ukraine crisis saw German stocks underperformed, as these are seen are viewed as having comparatively higher exposure to Russia. The German DAX index closed provisionally 1.6 percent lower.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday to discuss a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, where violence between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine military has intensified, forcing many civilians in the east of the country to flee their homes.

Greek stocks tumbled up to 5 percent and bond yields spiked after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his election pledge to restructure Greece's debt was "irrevocable" in his inaugural speech late on Sunday.

Read More'Give Greece a chance': Business leaders

Meanwhile, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said in its monthly report that oil demand growth was "yet to show any signs of accelerating." However, it still hiked its demand forecast for 2015, predicting that low prices would help to boost sales later in the year.

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