European markets traded slightly lower on Monday as policymakers and business leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) conference.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1% lower in early trade, with bank stocks falling 0.5% to lead losses while oil and gas stocks climbed 0.3% after two production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade.
Climate change and sustainable business will be a key focus for delegates at this year’s WEF summit, but other political risks such as international trade and geopolitical instability are also likely to be on the agenda.
Elsewhere, the People’s Bank of China kept its loan prime rate unchanged on Monday, sending Asian shares higher. The decision came after President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a long-awaited “phase one” trade deal on Wednesday, easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Stocks on Wall Street reached record highs last week, rising on Friday on the back of positive economic data from both the U.S. and China. U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Back in Europe, finance ministers from EU member states will gather in Brussels on Monday for the monthly Eurogroup meeting.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a summit for 21 African leaders in London on Monday, in a bid to boost the U.K.’s trade ties with the continent ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union.
Prosiebensat.1 shares climbed 3.2% in early deals after Citigroup upgraded the German mass media company’s stock, while Qiagen gained 3.5% with Reuters reporting a local trader as pointing toward fresh takeover speculation.
At the other end of the European benchmark, NMC Health’s London-listed shared dropped 4.3% while Air France KLM slid 2.7%.