European stock markets inched higher on Monday, though the absence of U.S. and London markets, which are both closed for holidays, kept volumes thin.
The Stoxx Europe 600
was barely positive at 350.14, after a 3.4% gain last week, which was probably the benchmark’s strongest weekly performance since February 19, according to FactSet data.
U.S. financial markets will be closed for the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, while London markets are closed for a bank holiday, which is expected to keep volumes low in Europe.
Investors in Europe were getting the first chance to react to Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen who said the U.S. central bank would “probably” raise interest rates in the “coming months,” in comments made while at Harvard University, where she accepted an award.
Data in focus: French economic growth accelerated faster than initially estimated in the first quarter, helped by sharp rises in consumer spending and investment.
Movers: Among the heavyweights, shares of Daimler AG
rose 1.5%. The European Union is expected to lay down record cartel charges for Daimler and some of Europe’s biggest truck makers, the Financial Times reported.
Auto makers were generally higher and with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV
rose 3.5%, the biggest gainer for the Stoxx 600 after the Belgian mail, parcel and e-commerce corporation said in a statement that it had discussed a “possible combination” with Belgian mail operator Bpost SA
, but the talks did not lead to deal. Shares of Bpost fell 2.4%.