European markets closed slightly lower on Monday as investors monitored rising diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China, while travel stocks tumbled after the U.K. imposed quarantine measures on people returning from Spain.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended down around 0.3%, with travel and leisure stocks tumbling more than 3.3% to lead losses while basic resources climbed 1.3%.
European stocks struggled to follow the overnight action in Asia, where stocks broadly advanced after data showed China’s industrial profit soared in June as the economy looks to bounce back from coronavirus-induced shutdowns.
Tensions between the world’s two largest economies, along with lingering fears about the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. and elsewhere, also pushed gold prices to new record highs in the early hours of Monday as investors sought safety.
Spot gold touched as high as $1,943.9275 per ounce during Asia Pacific trading hours.