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Europe's major stock markets drifted lower Monday in a subdued start to the week, with volumes capped by holiday closures on Wall Street and some key Asian markets.
Tokyo stocks earlier stormed more than two percent higher on solid data and rebounding investor confidence, but many major bourses, including in China and Hong Kong, were shut for the Lunar New Year break.
Some analysts welcomed the respite offered by an uneventful session in Europe, after world markets were roiled in recent weeks by a degree of volatility not seen in years, fraying investor nerves.
"In a sense, it's not a bad thing that the market is taking a break after the major turmoil seen at the start of the month,"said Christopher Dembik, analyst at Saxo Banque. Stock market volatility was now on the decline, he said.
US financial markets were closed on Monday for the President's Day holiday.
"Caught between continuing Chinese New Year celebrations in the east and President's Day in the west, European markets are ... very quiet today,"noted Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at Interative Investor.
Star performer Tokyo leapt on the back of supportive economic data and the weaker yen, which boosts exporters. Stocks in Sydney and Seoul also ended higher. In addition, sentiment was boosted by a relatively positive end to the week in the United States on Friday. The Dow squeezed out a positive close, up 0.1 percent before a long weekend, the sixth straight positive close for the blue-chip index as it notched up its best weekly gain since November 2016.
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