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Europe closes higher despite telecoms slipping; oil weighs

European equities closed higher Monday in what had been a choppy trading session, as a renewed decline in oil prices and a sharp fall in telecom stocks weighed on sentiment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 pared some earlier gains, to close provisionally some 0.3 percent higher, with weak trade in the U.S. capping gains in Europe.

London's FTSE 100 was also up 0.27 percent provisionally, while France's CAC 40 was 0.38 percent higher and Germany's DAX was 0.16 percent up.

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IBEX 35
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European markets will be keeping a look out for comments made by Federal Reserve members, who are due to speak on Monday. This comes after dovish comments from Fed chair Janet Yellen last week and Friday's U.S. jobs report which beat expectations, after data from the Labor Department revealed that the U.S. economy had added 215,000 jobs in March.

Asian markets ended mixed on Monday, with shares in Japan losing some of its earlier gains as the yen strengthened. This comes as data from the Bank of Japan revealed that its choice to adopt negative interest rates earlier this year hadn't convinced firms that inflation in the country would take off.

Oil prices saw volatile swings during Monday's session, with international Brent and US crude trading around the flat line in later trade, last standing around $38.13 and $36.52 respectively.

Price increases were capped as hopes that leading Middle East producers would find an agreement over how to suppress the current oversupply dwindled; with Iran saying it would continue to increase production until it reached a favorable market position similar to that seen prior to its sanctions period, according to Reuters.

Despite a fall in several metal prices and weak oil trade, basic resources saw some slight gains, with both Rio Tinto and Anglo American closing above 1.6 percent each.

French telecoms slump

In corporate news, Bouygues ended the day near the bottom of Europe's benchmarks, off some 9.5 percent, after talks of a possible deal with Orange collapsed on Friday. Orange had been looking to buy its rival for some 10 billion euros.

Orange slumped on the back of this, finishing up more than 2 percent, as a number of companies cut their price target for the company. Overall, telecoms was one of Europe's only sectors in the red, with telecom players Iliad, Altice and Numericable-SFR all sharply lower.

Deutsche Bank lost its position as a top three global investment bank, according to recent data from research house Coalition. Shares in the bank were nearly 1 percent lower.

One of Europe's top performers was Stagecoach Group, up over 5.3 percent, with Sanofi also seeing sharp gains. The pharmaceutical firm was up over 5.6 percent, with the company announcing on Monday that it was to help launch the world's first mass immunization program for dengue fever, in the Philippines.

Outside of markets

Elsewhere in the world, a leak of more than 11.5 million encrypted internal documents from Panama-based firm Mossack Fonseca is shaking up the political world Monday. The leaked documents implicate a number of government heads in the setting up of "shell" companies to harbor billions of dollars is set to cause upheaval on offshore hubs and shake up global political governance.

Looking at Greece, IMF head Christine Lagarde has dismissed claims that the IMF is seeking to push Greece into default. This comes after online whistle-blowing site Wikileaks published a transcript of a conference call between senior IMF officials, who were allegedly discussing tactics over applying pressure on Greece, Germany and the EU to reach a bailout deal this month.

On the data front, euro zone unemployment for February fell slightly to 10.3 percent, down from 10.4 percent in January, according to the European Union's official statistics office, Eurostat. This figure is the lowest rate recorded in the region since August 2011, the office said.

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