Euro Stocks Close 2007 Flat

European equities ended flat on Monday in thin trade as key markets stayed closed, with the region notching a slender gain of 1.5 percent in 2007, its worst performance since 2002 as a credit crunch whacked stocks.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.04 percent at a provisional 1,506.6. The year's gains paled with a 16 percent jump recorded in 2006.

The DJ STOXX basic resources index, took pole position this year with a 28 percent rally while banks were the worst performers, down 16.8 percent, in a sector battered by losses tied to credit markets and the outlook for equities is still uncertain.

"The key question is the knock-on effect the subprime problem has in terms of slowing growth, consumer lending and the overall impact that has in the wider market," said Andrea Williams, head of European equities at Royal London Asset Management.

UK and French markets ended weaker in a shortened trading session ahead of the New Year's Day holiday while German, Italian and Spanish markets remained closed.

On the year, the FTSE-100 index rose 3.8 percent versus an 11 percent rise last year and France's CAC-40 edged up 1.3 percent versus a 17.5 percent rally in 2006.

Germany's DAX index was a star performer, up 22 percent, matching last year's gains and Spain's Ibex index added 7 percent versus a 32 percent surge last year.