European stocks were mixed on Monday with indices on the continent broadly lower for the session and those in London closing higher.
The outperformance of London's stock markets was perhaps misleading given that Brexit concerns were the dominant theme for investors during the session, although the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 were lifted by a mining sector in rude health. Both indices have a heavy concentration of resources stocks.
The banking sector was the biggest detractor from returns in the U.K. as well as on the continent, after political risks were placed firmly back on the agenda for investors.
At the opening bell investors responded to comments made over the weekend by British Prime Minister Theresa May that left markets fearing an outright, and possibly messy, divorce with the European Union.
Added to this was a reminder that the EU itself is not infallible, which came in the form of a warning from German vice Chancellor and Angela Merkel deputy Sigmur Gabriel, who described a complete breakup of the entire bloc as no longer being unthinkable. He was speaking in an interview with Der Spiegel over the weekend.
The FTSE 100 added 0.44% to be quoted at 7,241 at the close, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 gained 0.30% for bids and offers to be quoted either side of 18,395. The DAX in Germany dropped 0.27% to 11,567 and the CAC 40 in France fell 0.40% to 4,887.
On the FTSE 100 Glencore (GLCNF) topped the index, with gains of nearly 3%, after iron ore, lead and other commodity prices soared. Iron ore futures alone were up by more than 6% during the London session. Other miners were also notable risers on the index.
JD Sports Fashion, a mid market sports clothing retailer, saw its stock rise by nearly 5% after the Competition & Markets Authority granted two exemptions from its order for the firm to halt work on its merger with Go Outdoors.
JD agreed to buy Go for £112 million ($137 million) in 2016 but the CMA launched an investigation of the merger, given competition concerns, and ordered the company not integrate the asset.
Monday's announcements provide hope to investors that the merger will eventually be cleared to go ahead.
Ferrexpo (FEEXF) , a Ukraine based producer of iron ore pellets, was the top riser in London after the shares rose by nearly 4.5%.
The company reported higher sales volumes for the full year, at higher selling prices than in 2015, given an improvement in iron ore prices and the premium for pelleted material. It also received a boost on Monday from surging iron ore prices.
In Germany, Deutsche Lufthansa (DLAKY) was the biggest decliner on the DAX after an investor update failed to impress the market, with analyst now fearing that rising oil prices will see an oil price headwind biting into an already-pressured bottom line.
Deutsche Bank(DB) - Get Report and Commerzbank (CRZBY) were among the top decliners on the DAX, after dropping by 1.4% and 2.8%. Both were hit by renewed concerns over political stability in Europe thanks to the Gabriel comments in Der Spiegel.
In France both Societe Generale (SCGLY) and Nokia(NOK) - Get Report were the top fallers, with Soc Gen falling victim to the broader sell off in the banking sector and Nokia stock slumping alongside investor interest in its latest product launch.
Nokia is saw its name return to mobile handsets on Monday, for the first time since it exited the hardware business, with the launch of a mid-priced smartphone that has been built by a licensee.
After months of mounting excitement over the launch, which brought double digit gains for the stock, the eventual launch was something of an anticlimax. Nokia stock fell more than 2% in Paris, but rose in Helsinki, Finland.