China

European Markets Close Higher; Credit Suisse Slips 2% as Chairman Resigns

Geno Zhou | Future Publishing | Getty Images
  • European stocks closed higher on Monday as investors digested a string of corporate news and the latest growth data out of China.
  • Credit Suisse became embroiled in yet another scandal as its chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, resigned after breaking coronavirus quarantine rules.
  • Official data from China showed the world's second-largest economy grew faster than expected between October and December.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher on Monday as investors digested a string of corporate news and the latest growth data out of China.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended the session up by 0.8%, with media stocks climbing 1.9% to lead the gains with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Investors in Europe and Asia Pacific were digesting the latest gross domestic product data from China on Monday, with official data showing the world's second largest economy grew faster than expected between October and December.

U.S. markets are closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In Europe, meanwhile, two bits of corporate news dominated headlines.

Credit Suisse became embroiled in yet another scandal as its chairman, Antonio Horta-Osorio, resigned after breaking coronavirus quarantine rules. Horta-Osorio had been tasked with overseeing the bank's new strategy following a string of issues, including the meltdown of U.S. family hedge fund Archegos Capital and the collapse of British supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital.

Credit Suisse shares fell over 2% by Monday's close.

Elsewhere, Unilever said Monday that it viewed GSK's consumer arm as a "strong strategic fit." GSK confirmed this weekend that it had rejected a bid — thought to have been worth £50 billion ($68.4 billion) — for its consumer health division.

Unilever shares slipped nearly 7% while GSK rose by 4%.

Investors were also keeping an eye on the latest Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers in Brussels. Speaking to CNBC from the event Monday, Pascal Donohoe, president of the Eurogroup and finance minister for Ireland, said the high level of inflation in the euro zone right now is not unexpected, given the scale of intervention needed to deal with the pandemic.

China GDP

Numbers from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed the Chinese economy grew by 8.1% in 2021, slightly below the market's expectation for around 8.4% growth for the year. In the fourth quarter, China's GDP rose 4% from a year ago, topping a Reuters poll that predicted a 3.6% increase.

Economists were concerned that Monday's data could underline a slowdown in growth, in part due to factors like China's strict measures to contain the omicron Covid variant as well as problems in its property sector and sluggish consumption.

Chinese shares rose Monday in a mixed trading session across the Asia-Pacific, with the Shanghai composite adding 0.32% while the Shenzhen component gained 0.89%.

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— CNBC's Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this market report.

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