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Europe closes lower, Spanish, Greek stocks tumble

European equities closed lower on Monday amid low volumes, with a number of markets shut for the holiday weekend.

The London Stock Exchange and its German counterpart were both closed for the Whit Monday holiday, while markets in the U.S. were closed for Memorial Day.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed around 0.1 percent lower, with the French CAC index ending around 0.5 percent lower.


Spanish vote hit stocks

The benchmark Spanish IBEX index ended more than 2 percent lower after the ruling People's Party (PP) took a battering in regional and local elections on Sunday, as voters punished Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for four years of severe spending cuts and a string of corruption scandals. This was viewed as worrying indicator ahead of national elections expected in November.

Italian stocks followed the Spanish IBEX lower, with the FTSE MIB ending down around 1.7 percent.

The Athens Composite index closed more than 3 percent lower, as fears of a potential Greek exit from the euro zone remained in the backdrop after the country's interior minister, Nikos Voutsis, threatened to default on loan repayments due to the International Monetary Fund on Sunday.

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Asian stocks shrugged off a dismal lead from Wall Street to trade higher on Monday, with markets in Tokyo and Shanghai scoring fresh multi-year highs.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite surged to its highest level since January 2008 and a weaker yen and better-than-expected export data delivered a cheer to Japan's Nikkei 225, which hit its highest level since 2000.

Read MoreJapan's April exports climb 8% on-year

Meanwhile, bourses in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed for public holidays.

Greece talks, US GDP coming up

Talks between Greece and European finance ministers will kick off again on Wednesday. Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup, will both speak at the European Parliament on Thursday.

GDP figures are due on Friday from the U.S. and will almost certainly show the world's biggest economy contracted last quarter.

In Europe, data due this week includes German and French consumer confidence readings.