European markets closed mixed on Monday as investors sought to take profits into the holiday season following a sustained rally earlier in the month.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered around the flatline by mid-afternoon, with autos falling 0.6 percent and bank stocks down 0.7 percent to lead losses while healthcare stocks added 0.2 percent.
Investors worldwide have received a festive boost after the agreement of a phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China, and Beijing’s finance ministry said on Monday that it plans to lower import tariffs on some U.S. products from January 1.
These will range from frozen pork to avocado as China looks to boost imports after a bruising 19-month trade war between the world’s two largest economies. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he had held a very good talk with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the deal.
Asian stocks were mixed on Monday despite the upswing in trade relations, with mainland Chinese shares plunging across the board.
Sterling dropped to a three-week low against the dollar on Monday, hovering just above $1.29 during afternoon trade.
Back in Europe, Lufthansa cabin crew workers have threatened to strike during the holiday season following a breakdown in arbitration talks between the German carrier and cabin crew union UFO.
Meanwhile, the Italian industry minister said on Sunday that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei should be allowed to play a part in Italy’s future 5G network.
Stocks on the move
NMC Health shares soared 34 percent after the company announced an independent review of its business following an attack from short-selling hedge fund Muddy Waters, which saw shares tumble over the past week.
At the other end of the European benchmark, Italian infrastructure group Atlantia slid 4.5 percent on fears that a law will pass on Monday making it easier and less costly to revoke concessions to operate motorways.