Europe Markets

European stocks close marginally lower; Italian banks under pressure

Key Points
  • European stocks opened lower on Monday amid a public holiday in the U.K. and lackluster trade in Asia.
  • The oil price pulled back slightly on Monday, weighing on investor sentiment.

European stocks closed slightly lower on Monday following lackluster trade in Asian equities overnight and a decline in the oil price.

The German DAX closed up 0.21 percent, while the French CAC fell 0.08 percent. The FTSE 100 did not trade on Monday due to a public holiday in the U.K.

Spain's IBEX also closed in the red as well despite seasonally-adjusted retail sales rising 1.8 percent year-on-year in April.

Investors appear to have shrugged off any geopolitical worries stemming from a missile test carried out by North Korea on Monday.

Autos and banks in focus

The auto sector was among the worst performers this Monday, down by 0.3 percent. According to the Russian standards agency, Peugeot voluntarily recalled 30,000 cars sold in Russia between 2011 and 2016. Its shares dropped slightly.

Italian banks were also in focus for investors. Intesa Sanpaolo is close to completing a plan to boost its insurance and asset management businesses while cutting costs and closing branches, the Financial Times reported on Monday. Shares in the Italian lender fell 2 percent. Other Italian names such as Banco BPM and Unicredit were also more than 4 percent lower.

Weekend reports indicating that a general election could take place as early as September has got investors concerned over the chances that the anti-establishment and euroscpetic five star movement could have in boosting its parliamentary presence.

BA-owner IAG hit

In the U.K., British Airways (BA) resumed flights from London after a major IT outage created havoc over the weekend, with thousands of passengers affected. BA owner is listed in London, so there won't be any trade of the stock. However, the company's Spanish-listed shares were down over 2.5 percent.

In politics, Britain's Conservative Party has a 14 percentage point lead over the opposition Labour Party ahead of a June 8 election, according to an ICM opinion poll published in the Sun newspaper on Sunday.

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