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European markets close mixed; Autos slump; Gemalto down 19%

  • Auto stocks were under pressure after reports that the EU is investigating alleged collusion between German carmakers on technology.
  • Luxottica, Ryanair, Julius Baer and Reckitt Benckiser report their latest earnings
  • New flash manufacturing PMIs in France showed a slight slowdown in economic activity

Bourses in Europe closed mixed on Monday afternoon as auto stocks slumped amid allegations of collusion.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.24 percent with most sectors trading in negative territory. Wall Street also moved lower in anticipation of a series of earnings from big tech firms this week, including Alphabet on Monday.

In Europe, the Auto sector was under pressure Monday after reports that the European Commission is investigating collusion between German carmakers. Volkswagen ended the day down 1.4 percent, Daimler closed down 2.6 percent and Peugeot was lower by 1.3 percent. The European Commission said it received information on alleged collusion but it is still assessing the information. The probe could damage the sector's reputation further following the diesel emissions scandal.

Travel and leisure stocks also struggled on Monday after Ryanair reported second quarter earnings. Investors are worried about increased market competition in the winter months. The Irish airline warned it could cut its late summer fares by as much as 9 percent compared to last year. The stock was down more than 1.3 percent by the close of play.

Banking stocks were slightly higher as investors expect further monetary policy tightening in the U.S. later this week and digest earning news. Julius Baer said Monday its assets under management grew 6 percent to $375.18 billion in the first half of 2017, roughly in line with analysts' forecasts. The Swiss bank closed higher by 4.4 percent.

It was retailer B&M European that closed the day at the top of the European benchmark, however. The stock rose 4.9 percent on reports that Walmart's U.K. unit Asda is considering a £4.4 billion ($5.7 billion) takeover bid.

Gemalto down 19%, Euro zone slows down

Reckitt Benckiser announced that its full year target growth was a "challenging" one as the firm is still struggling to return to normal after a cyber attack. The episode led to a 2 percent fall in sales during the second-quarter of this year. The stock was down 3.2 percent.

The digital security firm Gemalto fell by more than 19 percent after several rating downgrades. The firm issued its fourth profit warning since October last week.

Meanwhile, in France, the figures showed a slowdown in economic activity. IHS Markit's purchasing managers' survey dropped slightly to 55.7 from 56.6.

In the euro zone, economic activity also fell in July. The flash IHS Markit's monthly purchasing manager's index for the euro zone came in at 55.8 in July from 56.3 in June.

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President Donald Trump said Sunday he is willing to sign new sanctions against Russia. However, in Europe, the European Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that there will be retaliations on the U.S. if it pushes sanctions affecting European companies.

His son-in-law Jared Kushner went before a Senate Intelligence committee Monday to provide evidence on four meetings with Russians during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. In a statement released ahead of the meeting, Kushner denied allegations of collusion.

In currency markets, the euro held at two-year highs following remarks by ECB President Mario Draghi last week, while the dollar remained weak ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later in the week.

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