Europe Markets

Wall Street record highs fail to excite European stocks

European markets post modest gains

European markets finished flat to higher on Monday, with indexes failing to get much boost from sharp gains in oil prices and record highs on Wall Street.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fluctuated throughout trade and closed roughly flat, with poor performances from industry sectors capping gains.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.36 percent by the close, while Germany's DAX ended up 0.24 percent. The French CAC 40 lagged behind, closing down 0.05 percent.

A rebound in oil prices helped lift sentiment somewhat on Monday, as speculation over potential action by leading oil producers boosted crude prices. Brent and U.S. WTI futures extended gains, despite ongoing glut concerns, trading up some 2.5 percent at Europe's close, hitting $48.14 and $45.62 respectively.

On Wall Street, all three major U.S. indexes hit fresh record highs on Monday, as investors eyed oil prices and awaited minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's July meeting.

Economic data, which showed Japan's economy failed to grow in the three months to June, was also in focus on Monday The benchmark Nikkei 225 closed around 0.3 percent lower.

However, Chinese stock indexes gained amid speculation of more stimulus by the People's Bank of China, following weaker-than-expected July data.

H&M sales rise

In individual stock news, H&M reported a 10 percent rise in July sales, sending shares of the Swedish retailer to close over 2 percent up. Elsewhere in the retail space, Zalando finished 1.4 percent up, after DZ Bank and RBC raised the stock's price target.

Meanwhile, G4S came off highs to close mildly up after the British security firm announced Tim Weller as its new chief financial officer and Credit Suisse raised its price target for the stock. Shares of Petrofac, the company from which Weller is transferring, sat at the bottom of the energy sector, closing just shy of 2 percent down.

The STOXX 600's top performer was UCB, jumping 8.9 percent, after a U.S. court confirmed the validity of the Belgian biopharmaceutical company's U.S. patent for epilepsy drug Vimpat.

William Hill sank over 6 percent, making it Europe's worst performer, after the U.K. bookmaker rejected a revised takeover proposal by Rank Group and 888 Holdings.

JPMorgan backs UK stocks

On Monday, JPMorgan held its "overweight" recommendation on U.K. equities, on the grounds that these shares offered high dividend yields and the Bank of England could cut interest rates further.

U.K. housebuilders were in focus after Bovis Homes reported an 18 percent rise in first-half revenue. Shares of Bovis Homes ended trade sharply down however, after JPMorgan cut its price target for the stock.

Other housebuilders including Barratt Developments, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey showed signs of weakness during trade after JPMorgan cut their price targets. All of these stocks closed either flat or lower.

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