Europe Shares Close Mixed; Italy, Spain Lag

European shares closed mixed on Monday afternoon, after briefly touching fresh five-year highs earlier during the session. The session was a quiet one, with Swiss, Austrian, Danish and Norwegian bourses shut for a holiday.

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Italian, Spanish and Portuguese stock indexes all closed lower on Monday, after Italy published data which showed industrial orders were down 10 percent on the year in March. In addition, Italy reported its Balance of Payment balance for March. Meanwhile, Spain's Treasury said it will auction up to 7.5 billion euros ($9.6 billion) in sovereign bonds this week.

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In the U.K., Google's Chief Executive Eric Schmidt is due to meet Prime Minister David Cameron, at a time when the the internet giant is under renewed fire from politicians over its tax affairs.

South Africa Mine Wage Demands Rattle Markets

European autos continued to rally after Friday's impressive registration data, with Peugeot, BMW, Porsche, Daimler and Volkswagen all posting healthy gains.

In addition, travel and leisure stocks were boosted by a 6.9 percent jump in Ryanair, after the Irish budget airline posted forecast-beating earnings.

However, mining stocks took a hit after reports from South Africa said workers seeking a 60 percent increase in wages. In addition, the sector was pressured by a shock 9 percent fall in spot silver prices and 2 percent drop in gold prices early on Monday. Fresnillo, Lonmin and ENRC all posted large declines.