European stocks ended Monday's session with little to show for the day's trading efforts as benchmarks rose and then retreated to last week's levels amid ongoing concern over the political developments in the United States and stronger regional currencies holding down domestic indices.
The region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 Index, the broadest measure of share prices, closed at 391.14, about 0.1% lower from last week's close after drifting lower into the latter half of the session. The iShares MSCI EMU Index ETFEZU, one of the broadest measures of regional blue chip shares and the latest addition to the Action Alerts PLUS charity portfolio co-managed by TheStreet's Jim Cramer, was marked 0.16% higher at €41.29 each by 17:30 BST, taking its year-to-date gain to around 19.3%.
Britain's FTSE 100 also gave back early gains to close out the day, but ended with a modest 0.34% advance thanks to some solid moves in the basic resource sector. Germany's DAX performance index, however, struggled to stay in the green for much of the day as a surging euro, which rose to 1.1232 against the dollar -- the highest since the November presidential elections -- held down gains for export-related stocks such as Siemens (SIEGY) , Infineon (IFNNY) and Volkswagen (VLKAY) .
In London, Burberry (BURBY) rose 2% to near to the top of the FTSE 100 to extend gains in the wake of last week's stronger-than-expected sales and earnings release. Investors have also continued to reward the company's newly unveiled plans to reduce its cost base further, which has also helped to ease recent concerns around the outlook for the luxury retailer's bottom line.
In Frankfurt, German energy giant RWE (RWEOY) was once again at the top of the DAX index Monday, rising 2.4% as investors continued to cheer reports that is in talks with France's Engie SA (ENGIY) over a tie up that would create a Franco-German domestic energy powerhouse.
In Paris, Lafarge (LFRGY) topped the CAC 40 index after the cement maker said that it is has hired a new CEO to replace Eric Olsen, who stepped down due to revelations that the group may have made payments to militant groups in Syria, including the Islamic State.
The Swiss-French company has hired Jan Jenisch, who was recently CEO of adhesives firm Sika, to take over from Olsen. Lafarge stock rose more than 6% in response to the news.
In Switzerland, Clariant AG (CLZNY) shares surged to a record high before paring the advance to a session gain of around 3.45% after the Swiss chemicals group said it had agreed to an all-share "merge of equals" with U.S.-based Huntsman Corp. (HUN) that will be worth around $20 billion.
Huntsman-Clariant will have sales of around $13.2 billion, the companies said in a statement, based on pro-forma 2016 sales and adjusted operating profit of $2.3 billion. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year, the companies said in a statement.