Europe Shares Close Lower After Last Week's Highs

European shares closed lower on Monday, having pared losses after retail sales data in the U.S. came in better-than-expected. However, shares remained near the five-year highs hit in last week's global rally.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index closed provisionally down 0.3 percent at 1,230.12 points on Monday, near to Friday's five-year high of 1,238.25.

Late in the session, European markets were boosted by the news that U.S. retail sales unexpectedly rose 0.1 percent in April, after a 0.5 percent decline in March. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected sales to slip 0.3 percent in April.


European investors also awaited the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting, set to take place in Brussels on Monday evening.

(Read More: Market Can Withstand Deposit Rate Cut: Visco)

Standard Chartered Takes a Tumble

Banks were the worst performing sector after U.S. hedge fund-er Carson Block said he had placed a bet against Standard Chartered. The Asia-focus bank closed nearly 2 percent lower on the news.

(Read More: Carson Block: Why We Are Betting Against StanChart)

HSBC, another U.K.-listed, Asia-focused bank closed lower on the news, having taken an additional hit when Investec downgraded it to "reduce" from "buy".

However, Lonmin shares closed nearly 3 percent higher after the platinum miner raised its outlook on production.