By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
COPENHAGEN (MarketWatch) -- European stock markets dropped on Monday, as investors awaited durable-goods data from the U.S. to gauge if they weaken or strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to taper its asset purchases.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index 600 lost 0.2% to 303.91, partly erasing a 0.4% gain from Friday.
U.K. markets were closed for a bank holiday.
Among notable movers in the index, shares of Telefonica Deutschland Holding AG rallied 5.1% after Royal KPN NV shareholders favored Telefonica's acquisition of KPN's E-Plus mobile phone operations in Germany. Shares of KPN added 2.4%.
Shares of Sanofi SA (SNY) climbed 1.3% after the drug maker said its new flu vaccine proved efficient in trials.
On a more downbeat note, banking shares were on the decline. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA dropped 3.2%, UniCredit SpA lost 2.9% and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA shaved off 2.3%.
More broadly, investors were hesitant of placing any big positions amid speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve could start tapering its $85-billion-a-month asset purchases as soon as September if the economy improves as expected. The fear of an imminent reduction in the easing program has also spooked bond investors, pushing U.S. Treasury yields to two-year highs last week.
On Monday, durable-goods data from the U.S. were on tap, expected to show a decline in July.
Back in Europe, Germany's DAX 30 index slipped 0.2% to 8,399.43, while France's CAC 40 index dropped 0.4% to 4,051.85.
-Sara Sjolin; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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