EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Slip In Thin Volumes With U.K., U.S. Markets Closed

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Italian stocks slide on speculation of September election

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European stocks kicked off the week in slightly negative territory on Monday, with market holidays in the U.S. and U.K. denting trading volumes.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.03% to close at 391.25, marking a third straight day of losses.

The index fell on Thursday and Friday, with oil and gas shares leading the charge lower after disappointment over OPEC's decision to extend its production accord, but not deepen the cuts. Crude oil tumbled 4.8% after the call on Thursday, but rose on Friday and continued to recover on Monday. The July contract was up 0.1% at $49.85 a barrel.

Indexes: France's CAC 40 index lost 0.1% to 5,332.47, while Germany's DAX 30 index ended 0.2% higher at 12,628.95.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index was closed for trading due to the spring bank holiday. U.S. stock markets were also closed for Memorial Day.

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Italy's FTSE MIB Index slid 2% after weekend reports that an election could take place as early as September (https://www.euractiv.com/section/future-eu/news/renzi-suggests-next-election-be-synchronised-with-germanys/).

Read: When do markets close for Memorial Day? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/when-do-markets-close-for-memorial-day-2017-05-24)

Stock movers: Shares of Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP.MI) lost 2.1% as the Financial Times reported that the Italian bank is set to close branches and cut costs in a strategy shift (https://www.ft.com/content/2b30af56-4237-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2). Shares of other Italian banks were also lower, with UniCredit SpA (UCG.MI) off 4.3% and Unione di Banche Italiane SpA (UBI.MI) down 4.7%.

Shares of Lanxess AG (LXS.XE) rallied 7.9% after reports Warren Buffett has bought shares in the chemicals group.

In the U.K., British Airways said it had resumed almost all flights after a major IT outage over the weekend (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/british-airways-travelers-suffer-delays-cancellations-owing-to-computer-glitch-2017-05-27) left all their flights leaving from Heathrow and Gatwick airports grounded.

There was no trading in shares of BA-owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.LN) (IAG.LN) in London due to the U.K. holiday. However, the company's Spanish-listed shares (IAG.LN) fell 2.8%.

Analysts at Citigroup said the outage is expected to cost IAG around 100 million euros ($111 million), comprised of EUR40 million in lost revenue and EUR60 million in customer compensation.

Read:The bill for British Airways's IT carnage? $111 million, Citi estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-bill-for-british-airwayss-it-carnage-111-million-citi-estimates-2017-05-29)

Draghi testimony: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the eurozone economy still needs a "fairly substantial amount" of monetary stimulus (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/draghi-eurozone-still-needs-substantial-ecb-help-2017-05-29) from the ECB to help boost inflation in a sustainable way.

Testifying at the European Parliament in Brussels, Draghi acknowledged the economic recovery in the currency union, but warned that underlying inflation is still too weak.

The euro headed south after the comments to buy $1.1171, compared with $1.1182 late Friday in New York.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 29, 2017 11:44 ET (15:44 GMT)