Europe closes on the flatline, miners rally

European markets closed broadly flat hovered around the flatline Monday following weak data out of China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed flat. Markets in Germany, Denmark, Austria, Norway and Switzerland are closed for a public holiday. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.2 percent, while the French CAC 40 closed 0.2 percent lower.

In New York, shares were trading broadly higher on the open led by energy stocks as oil prices hit fresh highs for the year so far.

The Dow Jones industrial average added more than 100 points in mid-morning trade, with Apple rising 3 percent to contribute the most to gains. Caterpillar, Chevron and Exxon Mobil were also among the top contributors to gains.


The lower open comes after data from China's National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday showed that investment, factory output and retail sales all grew more slowly than expected in April, raising concern over the health of the world's second-largest economy.

Factory output slowed to 6 percent in April, missing expectations of a 6.5 percent rise.

"There had been an expectation after a late pickup in Chinese economic data in March that we were about to see a decent pickup in economic activity in April. This optimism looks like it may have been misplaced as first some disappointing PMI's were followed by weaker than expected import and export data for April," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a note on Monday.

Mining stocks, which usually come under pressure after weak China data, remained resilient. Anglo American was up 5.6 percent while BHP Billiton was in positive territory after Credit Suisse raised its price target for the stock.

Precious metals miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were also both higher thanks to an uptick in the price of gold.

Platinum producer Lonmin reported $35 million in core profit for the six months to March 31, up from the $6 million in the same period last year. The news sent shares sharply higher, ending the day 19 percent up.

"Gains for the mining contingent suggest that disappointing Chinese data is being taken as a driver for more risk-asset friendly stimulus from Beijing to counter slowing economic growth," Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, wrote in a note.

Oil rallies

Elsewhere, the oil price continued its march higher. Internationally Brent crude futures were up around 2.1 percent from their last settlement after Goldman Sachs said the market shifted into deficit in May due to falling production.

"The physical rebalancing of the oil market has finally started," Goldman Sachs wrote in a note on Monday.

Meanwhile, BP has acquired an additional 16 percent interest in the Culzean development in the U.K. Central North Sea from JX Nippon, doubling its stake in the project. BP now has a 32 percent interest in the development, sending shares in the oil major about 1 percent higher.

Philips lighting IPO plans

In other news, clothing retailer H&M reported a 5 percent year-on-year rise in sales in April. The company said the cold spring in key markets "had an unfavourable impact on sales of transitional garments". H&M was in negative territory.

And Philips said it would sell 37.5 million shares in an initial public offering of shares in its lighting business at 18.50-22.50 per share. This means Philips is looking to raise at least 694 million euros ($785 million) by selling a 25 percent stake in the business. Shares ended the day 1.8 percent higher.

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Correction: This story was revised to correct the release date of the Chinese data to Saturday.