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European markets close higher on strong China, US data

Key Points
  • Manufacturing activity in China rose in March after three months of decline, suggesting a rebound in economic activity.
  • U.S. manufacturing figures also came in batter than expected.
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 1.2 percent higher.

European stocks jumped Monday, as investors in Europe digested stronger-than-expected manufacturing data from first China and then the United States.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

By the close, the pan-European Stoxx 600 was provisionally 1.2 percent higher with almost every sector in positive territory.

Basic resources were the outperformer, up by more than 3.7 percent. The sector was reacting to positive data out of Beijing. Manufacturing activity numbers showed an increase in March after three months of decline, suggesting a rebound in economic activity. China is the second largest economy in the world and any indication of a slowdown tends to worry investors about the overall prospect of the global economy.

Auto stocks also rose sharply. The sector was also reacting to weekend reports that Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group are exploring ways to cooperate in Europe.

In individual stock news, easyJet sank more than 8.5 percent. This was after the airline said that Brexit uncertainty had led to softer ticket pricing and that its outlook for the second half of the year was "more cautious."

And the share price of Daily Mail & General Trust was revalued downwards by around 46 percent after the firm distributed it holding in Euromoney Institutional Investor to its shareholders.

Brexit, Ukraine, PMIs

U.K. lawmakers will vote on alternatives to the Brexit process on Monday night. Media reports also suggest that Prime Minister May could put her withdrawal agreement to a fourth vote on Tuesday. The U.K. has about two weeks to decide a way forward for the Brexit process or risks leaving the EU on April 12 without a deal.

In Ukraine, 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays a fictional president in a popular TV series, came first in exit polls Sunday. Meanwhile, in Slovakia, voters elected its first female president this weekend — Zuzana Caputova, an anti-corruption lawyer.