European stocks lacked an overall direction in late Monday trading, closing mixed as investors digested different political events.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.09 percent provisionally, with the various sectors taking different directions. Technology was down by about 1.5 percent, whereas oil and gas stocks jumped by about the same amount.
Looking at individual stocks, Vopak rose 4.7 percent after reporting higher-than-expected results. Siemens health care also jumped 2.7 percent on its latest earnings release.
European banks were under particular scrutiny after the latest results of European stress tests on Friday. Barclays and Lloyds had the lowest capital ratios in the adverse scenario. According to KPMG, this was due to new accounting rules and high levels of unsecured debt — examples of which may include credit card loans. Both stocks traded flat on Monday.
"The U.K. banks fared the worst in the test due to macro risks associated with Brexit, but the results do not inform their capital requirements with the BOE (Bank of England) publishing its stress test results on Dec 5," Jefferies said in a research note on Monday.
On the other hand, Italian banks were under pressure. Although they eased past the tests' adverse scenario requirements, analysts believe the macro assumptions for Italy were a little too optimistic. Banco BPM and Intesa Sanpaolo dropped about 2 and 1.6 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, euro zone finance ministers gathered in Brussels for another meeting. The Italian budget plan for 2019 is set to be a talking point among the ministers. Luigi di Maio, Italy's deputy prime minister said the country's spending plans will become "a recipe" for reviving European growth.
The Trump administration also reinstated all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it. Oil prices have risen in the session. By around 3 p.m. London time, WTI was higher by nearly half a percent while Brent Crude had risen almost one percent.