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Europe stocks pare gains to close mixed as oil prices fall

European markets pared gains on Monday to close mixed, as Wall Street traded lower and oil prices fell.

The German DAX index pared gains to close around 0.4 percent higher. It received an early boost after Germany's Ifo business climate index fell slightly to 108.3 in July, but came in ahead of expectations.

The French CAC 40 index closed roughly flat and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was 0.4 percent down. The latter was harder hit because of the heavy weighting of commodity stocks in the index. These were pressured lower by Monday's downward ride in Brent and U.S. WTI crude futures.

European stock indexes

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

Brent futures for September slid steadily below $45 per barrel, while U.S. WTI fell below $43.30. This was on ongoing fears of a global glut in supply.

Poorly performing stocks on Monday included Tullow Oil, which closed more than 5 percent lower and Randgold Resources, which ended more than 3 percent lower. The latter is listed on the FTSE 100.

U.S. indexes traded lower on Monday after four consecutive weeks of gains.

Shares of U.K. bookmaker William Hill surged as much as 11 percent after online gambling group 888 Holdings and casino operator Rank Group said they were joining forces to make a bid for the company. William Hill said no formal offer has been presented. Shares have since pared, but the stock remained a top performer on the FTSE 250 index of mid-cap companies.

Elsewhere, network equipment maker Ericsson announced on Monday that Chief Executive Hans Vestberg has stepped down and the search for his replacement has begun. Investors reacted positively to the news with shares up over 5 percent at one point, before paring to end around 1.5 percent higher.

Ericsson CEO Vestberg steps down

Ryanair soars

Earnings continued to come thick and fast.

Shares of Ryanair closed nearly 6 percent higher after the budget airline said net second-quarter profit was up 4 percent. Ryanair said Brexit would lead to downward pressure on fares until the end of 2017 at the earliest, but the carrier stuck to its earnings target for the year.

This contrasted with more negative outlooks from rivals. The travel sector has been under pressure recently, amid terrorist incidents in Europe and the continued fallout from Brexit. Last week, easyJet said it could not give any profit guidance for that reason.

Shares of Air France-KLM shares closed around 2.3 percent lower after unions said they would maintain their call for strikes this week.

Swiss private bank Julius Baer said its assets under management rose 4 percent in the first half of the year, sending shares to the top of the SMI index.

Philips closed 2.1 percent higher after the Dutch health care company reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortization of 544 million euros ($597 million) in the second quarter for 2016, up from the 501 million euros in the same period last year.

Italian banks under pressure

Banks in Europe, and Italy in particular, remained a focus for investors. Italy's finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, told CNBC over the weekend that Italian banks "do not need [a] rescue," playing down fears ahead of crucial euro zone stress tests by the European Central Bank (ECB).

Shares of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) tanked over 8 percent after a report in Il Sole 24 Ore said the bank was getting ready to raise between 3 and 4 billion euros, but might have to find a further 2 billion euros to satisfy the ECB.

Il Sole 24 Ore said the rest of the Italian banks would pass the ECB's stress tests.

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