European markets closed lower Monday despite hitting record highs last week amid quieter trading during the holiday season.
The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.75% lower in early trades with all sectors in negative territory apart from banking stocks.
European shares hit record highs last Friday amid overall optimism in future trade links between the U.S. and China. The two largest world economies are set to sign a phase one trade deal in January.
Elsewhere, the Chinese central bank said over the weekend that it will use the loan prime rate as a new benchmark for pricing current floating-rate loans, Reuters reported.
In corporate news, Italy is postponing until early 2020 the announcement of the sale of its stake in ailing bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Reuters reported. Shares of the bank were trading 0.8% higher on Italy's FTSE MIB index Monday.
The data calendar is thin with only inflation numbers out of Belgium expected at 11 a.m. London time.