By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- European shares declined in early trading on Monday, with investors looking ahead to a Federal Reserve meeting and key economic data later this week.
Equities in Europe received a mixed handover from Asia.
Chinese stocks rose after markets in the country reopened following a week-long holiday. Traders bet that the economy received support from its first Lunar New Year festivities without COVID-19 restrictions in three years. State media reported that domestic travel and consumption had bounced back sharply in the past week.
The Chinese government also reiterated over the weekend that it plans to shore up spending and drive local consumption. Business activity data due out this week is expected to provide a further glimpse into how much China has benefited from the scaling back of anti-COVID measures.
However, broader Asian markets retreated as focus turns squarely to a Federal Reserve meeting this week. While the central bank is widely anticipated to raise interest rates by 25 basis points, its outlook on monetary policy will be closely watched, given that recent data painted a somewhat mixed picture of the world’s largest economy.
Technology shares in Hong Kong, including Alibaba Group (HK: 9988 ) and Tencent Holdings Ltd (HK: 0700 ), were some of the worst performers for the day. A slew of U.S. tech earnings is scheduled to be released this week, with traders keen to find any clues about the health of the industry.
In European corporate news, Ryanair (NASDAQ: RYAAY ) Holdings PLC (IR: RYA ) says it expects to see strong passenger demand over its key Easter and summer travel seasons, as more tourists from Asia and North America return to Europe due to the reopening of China's economy and recent strength in the U.S. dollar .
Koninklijke Philips NV (AS: PHG ) shares, meanwhile, posted their biggest gains since March 2020. The Dutch medical technology reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and announced that it would slash 6,000 jobs to help boost profits.
Unilever PLC (LON: ULVR ) gained as well, with analysts reacting positively to the naming of Hein Schumacher as the consumer goods giant's new chief executive officer.
Elsewhere, oil markets were weighing the impact of the Lunar New Year holidays on demand in China. By 04:05 ET, U.S. crude futures were 0.78% lower at $79.06 a barrel, while the Brent contract slipped by 0.65% to $85.84 per barrel.
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