Europe Markets

European stocks close lower as oil price seesaws

Europe closes lower as oil price seesaws

European equities traded lower on Monday with investors reacting to price fluctuations in the oil market.

Oil in focus

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the day down by 0.2 percent with all major indices in negative territory. The main focus Monday was the oil price which suddenly spiked around midday London time after comments from the Saudi Arabian government.

Oil prices were under pressure in early trade on Monday, only to spike and then fall back. The move came after a statement from the Saudi Arabian government in which it stated its commitment to "cooperate with all oil producing and exporting countries, both from within and outside OPEC, in order to maintain market and price stability". This sent both Brent crude and U.S. crude higher, but both were trading lower again shortly after the spike.

Other commodities, including iron ore, zinc and nickel, were trading lower on concerns of slowing demand in China. Copper fell to more than a six-year low.

In the U.S., markets were in positive territory with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq all slightly higher.

Commodity stocks hammered

In Asia overnight, markets traded in the green following a rally on Wall Street last week as investors continue to look out for comments from central bankers on the trajectory of U.S. monetary policy.

Back in Europe, Mining giant Glencore saw shares were down as much as 6 percent before paring losses to close down 1.7 percent while steel titan Arcelormittal was off by 7 percent. Other names in the sector including Antofagasta and BHP Billiton all traded lower.

In the oil and gas sector, many of the stocks reversed losses after the spike in the oil price. But Amec Foster Wheeler was still lower.

Playtech tanks 8%; Volkswagen lower

In individual company news, gambling firm Playtech was was one of the worst performers, closing down over 8 percent, after it walked away from its £460 million deal to buy Plus500 following concerns raised by regulators.

Shares in German energy firm RWE were off by over 4 percent after the company's chief executive told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that it has no plans to sell its current 25 percent holding in Amprion to help pay down debt. He also did not rule out a future capital increase.

Credit Suisse announced that it had raised 1.32 billion Swiss francs ($1.29 billion) after completing the first phase of its 6 billion francs capital increase. Shares in the lender ended the day sharply lower.

Volkswagen shares closed near the flatline after U.S. authorities said more of the embattled German carmaker's vehicles were hit by the emissions scandal.

Euro zone business growth

On the other end of the STOXX 600, Britain's Home Retail Group, closed up 6.5 percent after a report in the Sunday Times suggested that private equity firms are considering a takeover of the owner of Argos and Homebase.

Grocery delivery firm Ocado was traded slightly higher after UBS raised its outlook for the stock from "neutral" to "buy".

On the data front, flash figures for the euro zone composite purchasing managers' index (PMI) for November came in at 54.4, hitting its highest level since May 2011.