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.
In commodity trading, world oil prices clawed their way higher.
However, gains were capped by concerns that record-high US crude production will negate the impact of OPEC-led output cuts, according to analysts.
‘As crude oil prices waddle in a woeful state, industry observers will focus on US production as guidance for crude oil prices,’ said Avtar Sandu, an energy analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.
Traders are waiting for further US commercial crude inventories and production data due to be released on Tuesday by the industry group American Petroleum Institute and on Wednesday by the US Department of Energy.
The dollar gained ground against the euro, the pound and the yen.
Key figures around 1640 GMT
London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,247,66 points (close) 
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.5 percent at 12,385.60 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: DOWN 0.5 percent at 5,256.18 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,407.79
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.97 percent to 22,149.21 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: Closed for a public holiday
Shanghai – Composite: Closed for a public holiday
New York – Closed for a public holiday
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.2395 from $1.2410 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3991 from $1.4024
Dollar/yen: UP at 106.57 from 106.30 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP 76 cents at $65.60 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 74 cents at $62.29