The pan-European Stoxx 600 sank 0.4 percent during morning trade, with almost all sectors and major bourses in the red. Looking at individual stocks, Germany’s Delivery Hero was the top performer. The online food delivery firm recently sold its German unit to Dutch rival Takeaway.com for $1.1 billion. Its shares rose 10 percent on Monday.
In corporate news, BMW was hit by the South Korean government with a 11.2 billion won ($9.96 million) fine on Monday, and faces a complaint over allegedly delaying recalls and concealing defects that resulted in engine fires in the country. Shares of the German automaker barely moved on the news, and were up 0.1 percent.
Thin volumes are likely to dampen trading activity Monday, with markets set to close early ahead of the Christmas holiday. The FTSE 100 will close at 12:30 p.m. while other European markets close at 1 p.m. London time.
On Friday, stocks stateside plunged, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its worst week since the 2008 crisis, the Nasdaq Composite slipped into a bear market and the S&P on the verge of one itself.
Slowdown fears weigh
Market players are mostly focused on lingering fears of a slowdown in global economic growth. The Federal Reserve last week raised interest rates for a fourth time this year at its latest monetary policy meeting, as was expected, but the U.S. central bank was less dovish than many traders had anticipated. Some are worried it may be tightening policy too fast.
Meanwhile, political drama stateside will be another area of focus for traders, with the government facing a partial shutdown that is likely to last until at least Dec. 27, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held calls with top U.S. bankers over the weekend following the recent slide in equities, and made plans to convene a group of officials sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team.”