Europe ends mixed after rally; miners fall

European equities closed mixed on Monday as investors paused for breath and digested fresh economic data from China, after stellar gains last week.

The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 Index (^STOXX) finished slightly higher, with indexes flipping between positive and negative territory throughout the session at the start of the trading week. Mining stocks (STOXX:.SXPP) – with their heavy exposure to China – were the major underperformer, with weak data from the world’s second-largest economy helping to curb risk sentiment.

London’s FTSE (FTSE International: .FTSE) closed around 0.4 percent lower as miners dragged. The sector dipped as much as 1.2 percent in early deals with companies like BHP Billiton (London Stock Exchange: BLT-GB), Anglo American (London Stock Exchange: AAL-GB) both closing sharply lower. Data from China on Monday showed exports fell more-than-expected, down 14.6 percent in March from the year-ago period.

German stocks (^GDAXI) finished around 0.2 percent lower, while the French CAC (Euronext Paris: .FCHI) ended 0.3 percent higher.

A fall in iron ore prices and downgrades from Citi also helped to compound the drop in the sector.

Read More China’s exports fall in March

U.S. stocks traded higher on Monday, shaking off a mostly lower open, as investors awaited the beginning of earnings season.

The major indices held above key levels, with the S&P 500 above 2,103, the Nasdaq above 5,000 and the Dow Jones industrial average above 18,000.

Meanwhile, the World Bank trimmed its 2015-2016 growth forecast for developing East Asia and China on Monday, citing a continued slowdown in China and “significant” risks from global economic uncertainties as a reason for the revision.

In the U.S., former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton formally launched her candidacy for the U.S. presidency on Sunday, putting an end to speculation over whether she would run in the 2016 presidential race.

In Europe, Greece is expected to remain in the spotlight amid concerns that the country is running out of options to find a solution to its debt problems.

On Sunday, Greece’s finance ministry dismissed a report by a German newspaper which said that euro zone officials were shocked at Greece’s failure to outline plans for structural reforms at last week’s talks in Brussels, Reuters reported Sunday.

Read More Greece hits back at reports of euro zone ‘shock’

In stocks news, Sydbank (Copenhagen Stock Exchange: SYDB-DK) shares rose over 5 percent after the Danish lender announced a share buyback program.

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