LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Monday as surging coronavirus cases in many major countries weighed on investor sentiment.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished 0.7% lower, with autos shedding 1.7% to lead losses while health care stocks added 0.6%.
Stocks are coming off a solid start 2021 as investors look past a violent siege of the Capitol and focus on the prospect for additional fiscal stimulus after a Democratic sweep of Congress. President-elect Joe Biden pledged Friday a hefty economic stimulus rollout, which he said will be "in the trillions of dollars." More details will follow in a formal announcement on Thursday, six days before he is slated to take office. The need for further stimulus was underscored by an unexpected job loss in December.
In Europe, investors also focused on the alarming surge in coronavirus cases globally as countries race to vaccinate their elderly, the most vulnerable members of society, and health care workers. At the weekend, the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip, both in their nineties, received vaccinations against Covid-19, Buckingham Palace said.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine will arrive in France on Monday, Reuters reported, as the country ramps up its vaccination drive after a slow start.
In terms of individual share price action, Anglo-German travel operator Tui fell 6%, furthering last week's steep losses after announcing a capital raise.
At the top of the European blue chip index, Sweden's Tele2 gained 4.7% after partnering with Finnish giant Nokia on a new 5G core network in Sweden and the Baltics, while British retailer JD Sports gained 3.8% after a strong trading update.
- CNBC's Yun Li contributed to this market report.