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European stocks close barely higher; Deutsche Bank, Brexit in focus

European stocks were broadly flat Monday as markets eyed developments on the Deutsche Bank settlement and Britain's Brexit process.


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FTSE
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IBEX 35
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The STOXX 600 was hovering around the flatline in afternoon trading, up by 0.07 percent. London's FTSE 100 index was up around 1.2 percent, while the French CAC was 0.1 percent higher. German markets were closed for a national holiday.

U.S. markets were also in a subdued mood, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, off 60 points or 0.3 percent, and the broader S&P500 down 0.34 percent in mid-morning trading.

Deutsche Bank was in focus for investors, even though shares in the firm are not trading on Monday. There appeared a possibility of a settlement between the German lender and the U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S.-listed shares in Deutsche Bank surged 14 percent on Friday on news its settlement of a mortgage-backed securities mis-selling case could be reduced from $14 billion to $5.4 billion.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported at the weekend that Deutsche's CEO John Cryan would be in Washington this week for annual IMF and World Bank meetings, and other senior Deutsche Bank executives would join him to negotiate a settlement with U.S. authorities.

Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday that she would trigger the process of leaving the European Union by the end of March. Speaking at the Conservative party's annual conference in Birmingham, May said it was time to "get on with the job," vowing that the U.K. government would not question, quibble or backslide on Brexit.

Janus and Henderson agree merger

In business news, fund management firms Janus Capital and Henderson Group announced an all-share merger. Shares of Henderson surged over 16 percent over the day.

Elsewhere, the Italian banks were under pressure on Monday. Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Nomura and Deutsche Bank have been ordered to stand trial by a Milan court over alleged financial crimes, according to Reuters citing legal sources. New BMPS chief executive Marco Morelli admitted it would be difficult to raise 5 billion euros of fresh capital. Shares of BMPS were slightly higher.

UBI Banca shares were 1 percent lower after the European Central Bank rejected a proposed plan by the lender to buy three other Italian banks.

Meanwhile, Swedish bank Nordea said it needed to up its core capital level after a review by the country's financial watchdog. Shares of the Nordic region's biggest bank ended the day 2.7 percent higher.

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