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European markets close lower; Ryanair gains 4%

Key Points
  • The market focus was initially trained on corporate earnings with several big stocks announcing their latest results.
  • Italian stocks saw a relief rally on Monday morning after a ratings downgrade by Moody's was deemed relatively benign.
  • But those gains were given up in afternoon trade as investors remained cautious.

Shares in Europe see-sawed on Monday as investors focused on earnings and digested news surrounding Italy.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 initially rose with most sectors trading in positive territory. However those gains were given up after Italy vowed to stick to the draft budget. The pan-European index ended provisionally lower by 0.32 percent.

Italian stocks had opened stiffly higher on Monday morning after a ratings downgrade by Moody's was deemed relatively benign. Shares in Italian banks rose and yields on Italian debt dropped after Moody's downgraded Italy by one notch, as expected, and gave a "stable" outlook to its sovereignty.

But the Italian treasury then published a letter on its website on Monday that said it was sticking to its controversial budget plan.

Looking across the European benchmark, Fiat was among the top performers, up more than 2.98 percent by the end of trade. This followed news that the company had agreed to sell its Magneti Marelli unit to a Japanese company for $7.1 billion, Reuters reported. At the other end was Philips, the stock was down 8.69 percent, after missing analysts' expectations with its third-quarter results.

Market focus was mostly on corporate earnings with several big stocks announcing their latest results. Shares of Ryanair rose more than 4 percent despite reporting lower-than-expected profits in the second quarter of its fiscal year. The airline also announced significant progress with employees to prevent further strikes and investments to ensure on-time departures.

In Asia, Chinese stocks rallied as much as 4 percent on the back of news that authorities took steps to support the market. This followed weaker growth figures out last week.

In the United States stocks kicked off the week trading higher on Monday as a big rally in Chinese shares and easing worries over Italy's budget lifted investor sentiment. However markets flipped direction as sellers overpowered buyers.