Europe Markets

European stocks close higher as copper prices surge; Stada shares up 12%


European stocks closed higher on Monday as investors eyed fresh data and digested the European Commission's latest economic forecast for the euro zone.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.75 percent with all sectors in positive territory. Europe's major bourses also made strong gains. Basic resources stocks remained the best performers by early afternoon trade, up more than 2.4 percent continuing the trend from Asian markets. Copper surged to its highest in 20 months overnight due to Chinese data and supply disruptions at two major copper mines.

The German drug maker Stada was at the top of the European benchmark, up over 12 percent after several takeover offers. Swedish oil firm Lundin Petroleum gained almost 1.5 percent on news that it is to spin off its assets outside of Norway.

Elsewhere, the Swedish defense firm Saab closed 3 percent lower Monday after missing profit forecasts in the fourth quarter 2016.

On the data front, the European Commission released its latest economic forecast on Monday and cited several political headwinds for the euro zone. Uncertainty surrounding the new U.S. administration's policies, Brexit and upcoming general elections in Germany and France were all reasons for the expected pace of economic growth to ease in 2017.

It forecast growth in the 19 countries sharing the single currency would slow to 1.6 percent in 2017, compared to 1.7 percent in 2016. However, the Commission projected the euro zone to rebound in 2018 when the bloc's gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to increase by 1.8 percent.

Meanwhile in the U.S., stocks notched fresh record highs, as investors remained bullish on President Donald Trump's economic agenda. The S&P 500 hit a landmark, reaching $20 trillion in market cap for the first time ever.

French Prime Minister Bernaud Cazeneuve is to meet in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

Over the weekend, North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea on Sunday morning, the first such test since President Donald Trump was elected. On Monday morning, Pyongyang said that the test of a new missile type at the weekend was successful and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

-CNBC's Aza Wee Sile contributed to this report.

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