European benchmark share indices were largely down in early Monday trading, thus failing to continue a week-long rally. Analysts spoke of a technical readjustment, but said a further boost might be around the corner.
Germany's blue-chip DAX stock index dipped slightly after the opening bell on Monday morning after soaring by a staggering 3.9 percent last Friday. Among the biggest losers at the Frankfurt stock exchange were utility companies, with Germany's E.ON and RWE losing 0.6 percent in early trading.
Britain's benchmark share index, the FTSE 100, was down 0.3 percent shortly after trading started, easing off a three-month high.
Central Markets Chief Strategist Richard Perry told Reuters news agency that investors were pausing for breath after ending last week with a strong 2.2-percent gain. "After a rise like that, you're always going to get a little bit of a reality check," Perry said.
Hoping for new incentives
European investors said they were waiting for further signals on how soon central banks would act to stimulate economic growth and ease the eurozone crisis. The European Central Bank last week offered to step in and buy bonds to bring down borrowing costs for debt-stricken Spain and Italy.
"The stock rally might continue later this week, but we're currently lacking some fresh positive triggers," said Gerhard Schwarz who heads the equity strategy department at Baader Bank.
Unlike European shares, Asian stocks rose considerably on Monday, with Japan's Nikkei up by 2.0 percent. Exports were bolstered by the yen's fall against the euro and the dollar, with a weaker Japanese currency making domestic goods less expensive overseas and improving revenues.