European stocks closed higher on Monday as lockdown measures eased across the continent, while protests continued throughout the U.S. following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, last week.
London's FTSE 100 provisionally closed 1.5% higher, while France's CAC 40 climbed 1.4%, Italy's FTSE MIB gained 1.8% and Spain's IBEX was up 1.8%. Markets were closed in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland for a public holiday.
Investors around the world focused on widespread civil unrest unfolding in the U.S. Hundreds of people were arrested over the weekend as protesters and police clashed in cities across America after the killing of George Floyd sparked more than 100 protests, rallies and vigils, according to NBC News.
Derek Chauvin, the officer filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck, was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter.
The arrest and charges failed to quell public anger over the death, however, and protests, some violent, have continued. Mayors of major cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia to Atlanta imposed curfews and at least 12 states, as well as Washington, D.C., activated National Guard troops.
At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic remained in the spotlight. The number of coronavirus cases globally has now topped more than 6.1 million and the death toll stands at 372,116, a tally from Johns Hopkins University shows.
On Wall Street, stocks rose slightly amid optimism over the reopening of the economy.
Many European countries are beginning to ease lockdown measures and gradually reopen their economies, a key source of upward momentum for markets of late.
On the data front, Chinese figures released over the weekend showed the country's factory activity expanded in May, with the official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) coming in at 50.6.
That was a decline from the 50.8 print in April and below the 51.0 level expected by analysts, according to Reuters. Still, the figure for May was above the 50 level, which separates expansion from contraction in PMI readings.
The biggest individual mover across the European indices was British property developer Hammerson, which climbed 12% after announcing that all its flagship destinations in England would reopen from June 15.