Europe Markets

European markets close lower as focus remains on pandemic and economic recovery

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by over 0.2%. Technology shares were the worst performers, down about 1.6%, while banks on the other hand rose nearly 1.6%.
  • The negative sentiment in Europe marks a divergence from the largely positive trend seen in Asia and the U.S.

European stocks closed slightly lower Monday as investors weighed an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and global protests against racism.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed down by over 0.2%. Technology shares were the worst performers, down about 1.6%, while banks on the other hand rose nearly 1.6%.

The negative sentiment in Europe marks a divergence from the largely positive trend seen in Asia and the U.S.

Asian shares closed higher Monday while U.S. stocks also rose after U.S. jobs data released Friday showed an unexpected jump, spurring hopes of an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Global protests against racism remain in focus too. People across the U.S. and around the world gathered in major demonstrations on Sunday against racism and police violence, marking the 13th consecutive day of protests since the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minnesota last month.

In other news, a 14-day quarantine comes into force for any travelers arriving in the U.K. Monday. The move comes as most European countries continue to relax restrictions. Aviation and tourism chiefs have said the move will damage their industries and some airlines are considering a legal challenge to the quarantine measures.

Data released Monday showed that German industrial production fell by 17.9% in April from the previous month as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered Europe's largest economy. This followed a 8.9% drop seen in March and marked an annual decline of 25.3%.

Bloomberg News reported Sunday that AstraZeneca had approached U.S. rival Gilead Sciences last month regarding a potential merger, which would be the largest pharmaceutical tie-up in history. The British drugmaker's shares slid almost 3%.

In terms of individual share price action, German pharmaceutical and laboratory equipment supplier Sartorius saw its shares slide almost 9% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 in early deals, while British engineering firm Rolls-Royce climbed around 13% to lead the European blue chip index.

- CNBC's Emma Newburger contributed to this report.