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European stocks close marginally higher; Lufthansa falls 12% and drags airlines down

Key Points
  • Investors will be anticipating the Fed meeting amid expectations that the U.S. central bank could be cutting interest rates soon.
  • Airline stocks plunged Monday after Lufthansa issued a profit warning.
  • In the U.K., the search for a replacement for British Prime Minister Theresa May continued.

European stocks closed marginally higher on Monday as investors awaited this week's crucial U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished just above the flatline at the closing bell, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.

Airline stocks plunged after Lufthansa issued a profit warning, causing its shares to fall nearly 12% and dragging Germany's DAX into the red. Air France KLM and EasyJet both dropped 4%.

Major airlines were also in the spotlight elsewhere as the Paris Air Show kicked off Monday, with Airbus announcing a new plane, while Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the safe return of its best-selling plane, the 737 Max, was the company's most important objective. Airbus shares were up 2%.

Investors are anticipating the Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting — set to begin on Tuesday — with many expecting it to cut interest rates soon, if not necessarily this week. Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher on Monday as investors awaited the U.S. central bank's policy update.

Back in Europe, Deutsche Bank is preparing to create a 50 billion euro 'bad bank' as chief executive Christian Sewing shifts Germany's biggest lender away from investment banking, according to the Financial Times. Shares of Deutsche Bank ended the session 0.5% lower.

Meanwhile, shares of 1&1 Drillisch tumbled toward the bottom of the European benchmark, losing 9% despite winning spectrum in Germany's 5G mobile auction last week. Parent company United Internet also lagged, with shares falling by more than 7% on Monday.

Elsewhere, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Monday that President Donald Trump is "perfectly happy" to impose tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports of the two superpowers fail to agree a deal. Ross also said that Trump is giving "very serious thought" to slapping tariffs on all auto imports, including those from the European Union.

In the U.K., the search for a replacement for British Prime Minister Theresa May continued. In a live TV debate on Sunday, candidates took aim at favorite Boris Johnson over his promise to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal on October 31.

Sterling was trading lower against the dollar on Monday, falling to $1.2563 amid the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and Britain's domestic politics.