LONDON — European stocks were lower on Monday, tracking Asian markets as investors react to weaker-than-anticipated economic data and closely monitor geopolitical concerns.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.5% during mid-morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory. Mining stocks led the losses, falling almost 2%.
It comes after shares in Asia-Pacific dipped on Monday as data showed China recorded a surprisingly sharp slowdown last month. Figures on July retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment all missed forecasts.
China’s National Bureau of Statistics cited the impact of a range of factors, including growing external uncertainties, the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic and flooding. The bureau added that the “economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.”
Meanwhile, market participants closely monitored the potential geopolitical implications of the sudden collapse of the Afghanistan government. Taliban insurgents over the weekend pushed their frontlines into the capital city of Kabul after a succession of shocking battlefield reversals, spurred by the exodus of U.S. and coalition forces.
It marks a stunning end to the two-decade Western campaign in which the U.S. and its allies sought to transform the country.
Back in Europe, stocks had closed out a tenth consecutive positive trading session on Friday, shortly after MSCI’s aggregate gauge of global stock markets hit a new record high.
Stocks on Wall Street also notched record highs last week even as concerns over the highly transmissible delta Covid variant persisted.
Looking at individual companies, French car parts suppliers Faurecia surged to the top of the benchmark on Monday. It comes after the Paris-listed company agreed to buy a majority stake in Germany’s Hella for 6.7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) over the weekend. Shares of Faurecia jumped around 8% on the news.
Meanwhile, German carrier Lufthansa slipped toward the bottom of the index. Germany’s finance agency said on Monday that the country plans to sell up to a quarter of its 20% stake in the coming weeks following positive developments at the bailed-out airline, Reuters reported. Shares of Lufthansa were over 3% lower in morning trade.