European equities ended slightly higher on Monday as investors digested more economic news from China and and closer to home, while getting to grips with earnings from major banks.
HSBC, Commerzbank in focus
European markets got a boost after Markit released its latest set of business surveys (PMIs) for the euro zone. Euro zone final manufacturing PMI came in at 52.3 in October, beating expectations and slightly up from September's 52.0 figure.
Elsewhere, investors were focused on Commerzbank's better-than-expected third quarter earnings. Shares of the German bank ended 6.6 percent higher after it beat analysts' expectations for pretax profit. Its retail bank division performed well, provisions for bad loans decreased and its run-down portfolio of unwanted assets broke even.
Meanwhile, HSBC's third quarter earnings showed that pre-tax profit rose to $6.1 billion, up 32 percent from the same period a year ago and higher than expectations of analysts polled by Reuters. London-listed shares of the bank finished trade down 0.8 percent.
Elsewhere, budget airline Ryanair saw shares jump 3.2 percent Monday after reporting that it expected to post annual profits at the upper end of its forecast range, due to a lift in passenger numbers.
Shares in Swedish appliance maker Electrolux sank to the bottom of the STOXX 600, closing down 5.4 percent, after the U.S. Justice Department rejected the firm's offer to settle a dispute over whether it would be allowed to buy General Electric's appliance business, Reuters reported.
Greek banks rise
Greek bank shares got a major boost on Monday after the European Central Bank's stress tests of Alpha Bank, Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and National Bank of Greece showed a collective capital shortfall of 14.4 billion euros, Reuters reported. This was less than the 25 billion euro maximum earmarked for bank recapitalization as part of the country's latest bailout program.
Alphabank and Eurobank both closed up around 29 percent. Piraeus Bank ended 18 percent higher and the National Bank of Greece was up more than 7.5 percent.
In Asia overnight, stocks mostly slipped into the red on Monday, as investors digested a private survey which showed China's mammoth manufacturing sector remaining in a tough spot, though the pace of decline in factory activity slowed in October.
The preliminary Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 48.3 in October, above the 47.5 forecast in a Reuters poll.
Oil prices had a volatile trading day on Monday, following the news of China's weak economic data. At the close, Brent crude was trading roughly 76 cents down at $48.81 per barrel, while U.S. crude stood at around $46.11.
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