Miners Drag European Shares Slightly Lower


European shares closed slightly lower on Monday, dragged down by miners following warnings from analysts that Chinese growth would slow further after weaker than expected economic data.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 Index ended the day down 0.06 percent at 1,194 points. The FTSE 100 closed 0.18 percent lower at 6,400 and the French CAC ended down 0.21 percent. Meanwhile, Germany's DAX was the best performer, rising to close 0.64 percent higher.

European mining shares fell on Monday following the weekend's disappointing trade data from China. Anglo American shares closed down 2.8 percent, and Vedanta slipped by 2.3 percent.

It followed a strong rebound in Japan's benchmark Nikkei on Monday - which closed up 5 percent - on the back of a strong Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) revision and a weaker yen.

Over the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged EU countries to carry out further structural reforms. "It's very much in Germany's interest to do everything it can to ensure other states implement structural reforms, that budgets are made solid and that economic activity is stimulated in this way," she said.

While in Turkey, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK party ruled out early elections as protests against its rule continued. Erdogan vowed on Sunday to "choke" financial market speculators who he said were growing rich off "the sweat of the people", and urged Turks to put their money in state not private banks.

Trading in the Istanbul stock market was delayed following a technical glitch, as Moody's warned the demonstrations posed a threat to investment and tourism in the nation. The markets opened an hour late, and stocks closed down 2.48 percent at 76,386.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande said the euro zone crisis is over. Speaking on the last day of his visit to Japan, Hollande told business delegates: "What you need to understand here in Japan is that the crisis in Europe is over."

His comments came despite euro zone unemployment topping 12.2 percent in April. Hollande said that France and Germany were trying to address unemployment – particularly joblessness among the youth – to return to growth.

In stocks news, Italian insurer Unipol closed 0.45 percent higher after news that Warren Buffett's Bershire Hathaway is interested in buying assets the firm must sell as part of a merger with peer Fondiaria-SAI. The merger, which will create Italy's No. 2 insurer, is expected to close by the end of the year.

British water firm Severn Trent closed 5.9 percent lower after the firm rejected a raised $8.2 billion takeover bid on Friday from The LongRiver consortium - made up of a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund, Britain's Universities Superannuation Scheme and Borealis Infrastructure, part of Canadian pension fund OMERS.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) ended the day up 2 percent following speculation that U.K. finance minister George Osborne will signal a desire to begin privatizing both Lloyds and RBS before the 2015 general election.

Lloyds' shares, which have been trading above the 61 pence level at which the stake is valued in the government's books for much of the past month, closed 1.2 percent lower at 62 pence.

In the currency markets, The Indian rupee hit a record low against the dollar, weakening to 58.15 per dollar, as the greenback gained on data showing weakness in China's economy and Friday's U.S. payrolls pointing to improvements in the jobs market.