European stocks were slightly lower during Monday early trade, as concerns over Brexit talks, a potential slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher U.S. borrowing costs limited investor appetite.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell by around 0.1 percent shortly after the opening bell, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Many investors remained in a cautious mood on Monday, following an abrupt market shakeout in the previous trading week. The global sell-off was blamed on a series of factors, including the impact of a U.S.-China trade war, a spike in U.S. bond yields and nervousness ahead of earnings season.
Looking at individual stocks, Britain’s Convatec tumbled to the bottom of the European benchmark during early morning deals, shortly after CEO Paul Moraviec told the company’s board he wishes to retire. The global medical products and technologies firm also cut its full-year forecast on Monday, prompting shares to tank more than 30 percent.
Meanwhile, Chr. Hansen surged towards the top of the index amid earnings news. The Copenhagen-listed stock rose more than 4 percent after it reported slightly better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.
Back in Europe, investors were seen looking ahead to a crucial European summit on Wednesday. Negotiators from the U.K. and European Union failed to clinch a Brexit deal over the weekend, with both sides citing unresolved issues relating to frontier checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The British pound traded at 1.3105 against the dollar Monday morning, around 0.4 percent lower.
Not helping market sentiment, oil prices spiked and stocks in Saudi Arabia tumbled amid heightened diplomatic tensions between Riyadh and the West. It comes after the kingdom threatened to punish countries considering sanctions over the disappearance in Turkey of a Saudi journalist critical of its policies.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, were down around 0.4 percent on Monday.