Europe Markets

Europe ends mixed; oil, ECB in focus

Europe ends mixed; oil, central banks eyed

European equities closed Monday trade in mixed territory as a jump in oil prices boosted sentiment, at the start of an important week for markets and the ECB.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.5 percent higher, with most sectors finishing in positive territory.

The French CAC and German DAX finished trade up around 0.6 and 0.8 percent respectively, while London's FTSE failed to hold onto gains, closing 0.3 percent down.

Investors in Europe are shifting their focus towards the European Central Bank (ECB) this week. The bank is expected to introduce more stimulus measures on Thursday to revive inflation and boost growth in the region. Speculation has mounted over what form the stimulus could take.

Oil prices, a key driver of markets throughout 2015, are also be in focus, as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will gather on Wednesday. Many analysts believe the organization's output policy will not change, despite ongoing concerns over a global supply glut.

Oil prices were trading up 1 percent or more by the close, with Brent crude trading at $45.35, while U.S. crude last stood at $42.44 a barrel. Most oil stocks jumped on the back of this, with Neste closing up over 4 percent, while SBM Offshore and Total also finished higher.

VW, Lufthansa up; miners in focus

One of the best performers on the STOXX 600 index was beleaguered automaker Volkswagen, closing up 6.2 percent, despite a report in Die Welt newspaper on Monday, which said the company would have to recall 2.46 million cars fitted with the illegal emission control software in Germany alone.

Shares of German airline Lufthansa closed up 1.4 percent after the company came to the end of a long-running dispute with staff over pay. On Saturday, the airline signed an agreement with services union Verdi on pay for around 33,000 personnel.

On London's FTSE index, one of the best performers was housebuilding company Taylor Wimpey, finishing up over 3 percent. The worst performer was Aberdeen Asset Management, closing down 4.6 percent, after news emerged of a 12.5 percent fall in assets as investors pulled money out of its emerging market funds, Reuters reported.

British miner, BHP Billiton pared losses during trade but closed 1.3 percent lower, after Brazil announced plans to sue the owners of the Samarco iron ore miner, BHP and Vale, for $5.2 billion in damages.

Despite this, other mining companies were sharply higher, including Glencore, up 5.2 percent, while Antofagasta and Anglo American both closed up over 2 percent.

Shares in Dutch insurer, Delta Lloyd, slipped to the bottom of the STOXX 600, slipping 10 percent after the company announced a 1 billion euro ($1.05 billion) rights issue to boost its capital ratio and said it would pay no final dividend in 2015.

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Asian equities finished mostly in the red overnight , but Chinese stocks, including the Shanghai Composite, bucked the trend, rallying in later trade to close higher.

U.S. stocks traded lower in a narrow range on Monday, as investors digested the November Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).

Elsewhere, global heads of state converged on Paris on Monday for a major United Nations summit on climate change. There are hopes that the leaders at this summit can find agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the failure to do so at the last conference in Copenhagen six years ago.

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