Europe’s main stock benchmark edged lower on Monday, but Germany’s DAX 30 index gained ground and turned flat for the year, boosted by Volkswagen AG’s rally.
The Stoxx Europe 600 closed less than 0.1% lower at 346.05, falling for a second straight session.
European investors came into the session assessing Japan’s second-quarter gross domestic product, which expanded at a slower-than-expected pace of 0.2%.
“While this may add fuel to the fire of concerns about global economic health and/or strength of recovery, it can also be seen as keeping the pressure on the Bank of Japan to [inject] more stimulus in the wake of an already sizable fiscal promise from Tokyo,” said Accendo Markets analysts Mike van Dulken and Augustin Eden, in a note.
In Frankfurt, the DAX 30 rose 0.2% to end at 10,739.21. There, market heavyweight Volkswagen rose 1.1% after the auto maker said KBA, Germany’s federal motor transport authority approved technical remedies for 460,000 vehicles with diesel engines.
The DAX briefly turned positive for the year to date, before giving up some gains into the close to show a loss of less than 0.1% for the year. That means it’s now essentially flat for 2016.
“The DAX is a bit of an outlier compared to other European bourses, which are still down on the year,” said Jasper Lawler, CMC Markets analyst, in a note.
The DAX on Monday nabbed its second highest close of 2016, with its highest finish of the year coming Thursday, when the index was roughly unchanged for the year.
Also near the top of the Stoxx 600, H&M shares pushed up 2.1% after the Swedish apparel retailer said sales in July rose 10%, compared with a year ago.
On Friday, the Stoxx Europe 600 shed 0.2%, ending a choppy session lower, after weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales cast doubt on the health of the world’s largest economy. But the index still rose 1.4% for the week.
Indexes: France’s CAC 40 closed down less than 0.1% to 4,497.86, and the U.K’s FTSE 100 tacked on 0.4% to end at 6,941.19.
The euro traded at $1.1194, up from $1.1163 late Friday.
Movers: Shares of UCB SA surged 8.9%, climbing to the top of the Stoxx 600, after the Belgian biotech firm on Sunday said a Delaware court confirmed the validity of the company’s U.S. patent for Vimpat. The drug is used to treat partial-onset seizures in patients with epilepsy.
William Hill PLC shares fell 6.4% after the bookmaker rejected a higher takeover bid from Rank Group PLC and 888 Holdings PLC.
Bovis Hoes Group PLC posted a 15% rise in first-half pretax profit, raised its dividend payment, and said underlying market fundamentals for U.K. housing market remain positive. But shares were down 2.8%.