European stocks closed lower Monday, dragged down in part by falls for consumer products heavyweight Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC and German automobile maker Daimler AG.
Traders confronted a scarcity of catalysts in what was a relatively quiet day, with equity markets in the U.S. and China closed for holidays.
How markets are moving
The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.63% shed 0.6% to finish at 378.24.
The regional benchmark last week leapt 3.3%, recovering from its recent selloff and notching its best week since December 2016.
On Monday, Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, -0.53% fell 0.5% to end at 12,385.60, and France’s CAC 40 PX1, -0.48% lost 0.5% to close at 5,256.18.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.64% was down 0.6% to reach 7,247.66.
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The euro EURUSD, +0.0242% bought $1.2398, little changed from $1.2409 late Friday in New York.
In the fixed-income market, the yield on the 10-year German bund TMBMKDE-10Y, +3.35% recently was up 3 basis points at 0.737%, according to Tradeweb. Yields rise when prices fall.
What’s driving markets
European stocks were giving back some of Friday’s advance, which keyed off moves on Wall Street, although the Dow DJIA, +0.08% and S&P 500 SPX, +0.04% eventually closed off session highs and the Nasdaq COMP, -0.23% turned lower in the week’s final session.
Analysts said volumes for European markets would be lower than usual on Monday, with U.S. markets closed for the Presidents Day holiday. In Frankfurt, DAX volume was running at about 53 million shares in afternoon trade, according to FactSet data, and average daily volume has been 122.33 million shares over the past 30 days.
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Global equities last week rebounded from a meltdown earlier this month that yanked the S&P 500 and other major benchmarks from record highs.
What strategists are saying
“A lack of a major macroeconomic news has left some traders uninspired,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note. “Chinese markets were closed overnight as the country celebrated Spring Festival, and the U.S. and Canadian stock markets will be closed today as they celebrate Presidents Day and Family Day, respectively. When a number of major players on the markets are closed due to holidays, it is common to see low volatility on those exchanges that are open.”
Reckitt Benckiser Group RB., -7.51% sank 7.5% as the maker of Lysol, Clearasil and other consumer products posted flat like-for-like 2017 sales, although that was line with guidance that had been revised downward over the course of the year.
Daimler shares DAI, -2.47% fell 2.1% after German newspaper Bild reported Sunday that the car maker may have used software to help some of its vehicles pass U.S. diesel-emissions tests. Bild cited internal documents from U.S. investigators.
Monday’s gainers included Deutsche Bank AG DBK, +2.40% , which was up 2.1%.
The German bank reportedly has begun eliminating at least 250 jobs across its corporate and investment-banking units worldwide as it tries to keep expenses down while its securities division continues to struggle.
Spain’s economy minister, Luis de Guindos, looked on track to succeed European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constâncio.
On Tuesday, the nomination of an Irish official for the ECB’s No. 2 job was withdrawn, and the Eurogroup gave its support to Guindos.
On Thursday, minutes from the ECB’s January meeting are set for publication. That account is “something which will give us an idea if the ECB is going to end their tapering program as per the plan,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets.
“It won’t be long before the market participant would expect the ECB to start talking about the increase in the interest rate,” Aslam said in a note. “Such an event would be highly bullish for the euro traders.”
In other ECB news, a member of the central bank’s rate-setting committee, Ilmars Rimšēvičs, was detained over the weekend by Latvia’s anticorruption agency as part