LONDON (TheDeal) -- European markets fell on Monday, as investors seemed to focus on individual stocks such as Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report in Germany, rather than on any broad policy or strategic issue, despite the continued worries over Greece. Pharmaceuticals and health care led the market down, although British bank HSBC (HSBC) - Get Report helped London keep its losses in check.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.28% at 7,051.01. In Frankfurt, the DAX was down 0.17% at 11,790.95. In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.88% at 5,155.57.
Deutsche Bank slipped 4.09% to €30.26, after revealing a €3.5 billion ($3.8 billion) cost-cutting plan, saying it would raise its leverage ratio from 3.4% to 5%. It also plans to split off its Postbank retail arm and aims to sell it by the end of next year.
Also in Germany, car maker Volkswagen (VLKAY) drove up 2.8% to €239 as investors had their first chance to react to Saturday's resignation of veteran chairman Ferdinand Piech. Piech and his wife stepped down after losing a boardroom battle, following his criticism of CEO Martin Winterkorn. The 78-year-old fell out not only with his cousins in the Porsche family, but also with the state of Lower Saxony and the trade unions, which between them control a majority on the supervisory board -- even if they don't control a majority of the shares.
In Hong Kong, British bank HSBC, which last week threatened to move its headquarters out of London and back to the former British colony where it has its roots, saw its share price rise 3.59% to close at HK$76.45. In London, the bank's stock was up 2.53% at 645.6 pence.
The Times newspaper also reported this morning that HSBC was considering spinning off its U.K. division, possibly reviving the old Midland Bank brand. It took over the Midland in the 1992, when it first shifted its domicile from Hong Kong to London ahead of the territory's return to Chinese control in 1997.
British oil company BP (BP) - Get Report fell 0.9% to 474.1 pence on reports the British government would frown on a potential sale of the company to ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report or any other possible buyer, despite the country's past laissez-faire attitude to foreign takeovers. BP was weakened by the financial and reputation costs of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, but the government has let it be known that it wants to preserve both BP and its Anglo-dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) as global British champions.
In Paris, French technology services group Capgemini (CGEMY) rose 2.0% to €79.94 on its $4 billion deal to acquire Igate (IGTE) , massively expanding its business in the U.S. Together the two companies would have annual revenues in excess of $14 billion.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.18% at 19,983.32. In China, where investors are still hoping for further government stimulus measures, the Shanghai Composite closed at a record high of 4,527.40, up 3.04% on Friday's close. In Hong Kong, boosted by HSBC's strong rise, the Hang Seng finshed up 1.33% at 28,433.59.