European markets hovered around the flatline Monday, despite a solid session seen out of Asia and crude markets.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was barely above the flatline, up by 0.05 percent. In the U.K., markets are closed due to a public holiday.
Food and beverage was the top performing sector, up by 0.34 percent. Kerry group drove the sector higher, up by nearly 3 percent. The company reported last week a 3.7 percent increase in volumes during the first quarter of the year. At the same time, the sector received news that Nestle will pay $7.15 billion to Starbucks to market the products of the U.S. coffee firm around the world. Nestle shares rose 0.5 percent.
On the other hand, autos fell 0.4 percent. BMW fell above 1 percent after a rating downgrade.
Looking across the European benchmark, the Danish firm Ambu led the gains, up by more than 8 percent. This was after its latest earnings, where the company reported higher revenues from a year ago. Air France sank to the bottom of the index, down by nearly 13 percent. This was after comments from Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister of France, stating that the government would not bailout the airline.
Oil is the focus for the commodity markets. Oil futures touched their highest level since late 2014 on Monday, with U.S. WTI jumping above $70 per barrel on Monday and Brent crude rising as high as $75.89 — the highest it has been since November 2014.
Prices were climbing on the back of concerns surrounding Venezuela’s oil exports and the future of the Iran nuclear deal. At 8:30 a.m. London time, Brent hovered around $75.38 per barrel, while U.S. WTI jumped to the $70.3 mark.
In central banking news, Peter Praet, chief economist at the European Central Bank, is set to deliver remarks at the SFAA Swiss Financial Analysts Association event in Geneva, Switzerland.
On the data front, retail purchasing managers’ index data for the euro zone is scheduled to come out during morning trade.