Europe Markets

European markets close lower as travel stocks sink; inflation data and Covid in focus

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Key Points
  • Data last week showed the U.S. Consumer Price Index jumped 4.2% from a year earlier in April, the fastest rate since 2008.
  • The U.K. is easing lockdown further on Monday with pubs and restaurants set to reopen to customers for in-dining. Museums and cinemas are also allowed to reopen.

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LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Monday as global investors weighed concerns over a rise in inflation and an increase in coronavirus cases, largely attributed to the spread of a variant that emerged in India.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished flat. Most major bourses closed in negative territory and travel and leisure stocks dropped 2.25%.

European markets followed lackluster sentiment elsewhere. Markets in Asia-Pacific were mixed as investors monitored Chinese economic data and Covid cases in countries such as Taiwan. On Wall Street, weakness in technology stocks kept the major indexes under pressure on Monday after last week's hotter-than-expected inflation readings sparked a downturn in equity markets.

Data last week showed the Consumer Price Index jumped 4.2% from a year earlier in April, the fastest rate since 2008, which intensified fears that the Federal Reserve could be forced to start tapering its easy monetary policy if higher price pressures are sustained.

The Fed's minutes from its last meeting, which will be released Wednesday, could offer some clues on policymakers' thinking on inflation.

Coronavirus remains a key concern for investors as economies reopen. The U.K. is easing lockdown further on Monday with pubs and restaurants set to reopen to customers for in-dining. Museums and cinemas are also allowed to reopen.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for a cautious approach to the unlocking, however, after he warned the spread of the Indian variant could threaten further easing on June 21.

On the earnings front, Ryanair said it had seen a "strong snap back" in bookings in recent weeks, but reported a full-year net loss of 815 million euros ($989 million) on Monday as Covid-19 restrictions pushed its traffic levels down 81%.

British technical products company Diploma climbed 6.8% to lead the Stoxx 600, after reporting a rise in fiscal first-half profit and projecting full-year earnings ahead of expectations.

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