European markets closed lower by a slim margin Monday afternoon, having spent the day see-sawing above and below the flat line thanks to investor jitters over world trade.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.2 percent lower on Monday, with most major bourses and sectors in negative territory.
The basic resources sector slipped the furthest on Monday, ending trade 1.4 percent lower on the back of trade uncertainty.
Europe's chemicals stocks were also among the worst performers, closing down around 1 percent amid merger and acquisition news. Nonetheless, the sector had pared back some losses made earlier on in the afternoon. Linde slumped to the bottom of the sector, amid reports the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could demand further concessions in the German industrial gases company's merger with European peer Praxair. Shares of Linde closed 7.5 percent down, though they had been trading lower earlier in the session.
Looking at individual stocks, shares of U.K. office provider IWG tanked around 20 percent on news the company had abandoned takeover discussions with three remaining suitors on Monday.
Elsewhere, HSBC reported an earnings beat, with pre-tax profit up by 4.58 percent year-on-year to $10.712 billion in the first half of 2018. The lender's shares closed 1 percent to the downside, having traded solidly at that level throughout the afternoon.
Stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped on Monday as Intel shares led the 30-stock index lower, dropping by 1.1. percent. Looking at other U.S. markets, the rose 0.1 percent, led by utilities and consumer discretionary. The Nasdaq gained 0.2 percent as Facebook rose nearly 2 percent.
Investors continued to monitor the U.S.-Sino trade spat. China's official state-backed newspaper People's Daily hit out at President Donald Trump on Monday amid an escalating war of protectionism between the world's two largest economies. On Friday, China said it was preparing retaliatory measures against U.S. tariffs targeting $60 billion worth of U.S. goods with import duties.
America's European allies will likely be nervous Monday as Washington gears up to re-impose sanctions on Iran that were overturned by an historic nuclear deal in 2015. The duties will affect Iranian products including automobiles and metals.