European stock markets ended Monday's session mostly flat, ceding early gains ahead of a busy week as earnings season comes into full swing, dealers said.
London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares finished the day just 0.08 percent higher at 6,560.25 points.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.17 percent to 8,259.03 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris closed unchanged at 3,968.91 points.
"Traders have started this action-packed week with a very cautious session," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp said.
"It still feels as if we are stuck in a fairly narrow trading range, but if anything can break us out of this it will be the week ahead, where earnings, economic data and central bank meetings will come thick and fast. Today is just the calm before the storm."
The euro fell to $1.3255 from $1.3278 in New York on Friday and the dollar dropped to 97.86 yen from 98.20 yen.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to $1,329.75 an ounce from $1,331 on Friday.
Earlier Monday, a merger deal announced Sunday between French advertising giant Publicis and its US rival Omnicom buoyed the markets.
The new Publicis Omnicom Group will be a global leader in its sector and is worth an estimated $35.1 billion (26.5 billion euros).
Shares in Publicis closed 0.08 percent higher at 59.4 euros.
Matt Basi, an analyst at CMC Markets, said the tie-up "creates the world's largest ad agency with combined revenues of $23 billion, but perhaps equally importantly demonstrates that in some quarters at least, the M&A (mergers and acquisitions) space is still alive and well."
"Any sign that deals of this nature are back on the table might give bulls the required impetus to push equity markets to new highs," he said.
The huge deal brings together top ad agency brands like Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Razorfish, BBDO and Ketchum, while clients include Nike, LVMH, Nestle from Publicis and Volkswagen, Unilever and ExxonMobile.
The new entity, if approved by European and US anti-trust watchdogs, will leapfrog the WPP group as market leader. Regardless, WPP shares ended up 0.60 percent at 1,182 pence.
In Paris, shares in French advertising group Havas rose by 4.68 percent to close at 5.70 euros, with analysts saying that the scale of the deal would trigger reviews and negotiations of contracts that would raise opportunities for other big ad groups to gain business.
Markets won a further boost after US drugs company Perrigo agreed to buy Irish biotech firm Elan for about $8.6 billion in cash and shares.
The purchase is aimed at creating a global group with the strength to pursue expansion, and a new holding company will be based in Ireland.
On the downside in London, British bank Barclays topped the FTSE 100 fallers' board after revealing that it would update the market on its capital position on Tuesday.
The Sunday Times newspaper had reported that Barclays was exploring a £4.0 billion rights issue to meet regulators' concerns over its financial strength.
Barclays shares slumped 3.47 percent to 309.05 pence.
In Paris, shares in nickel mining group Eramet plunged 8.39 percent after the company reported a net loss for the first quarter.
Shares in French eyeglass lens leader Essilor rose by 6.18 percent over a deal to acquire US firm Transitions Optical and sunglass lens maker Intercast.
Stocks in German industrial conglomerate Siemens fell 0.28 percent to 79.46 euros. Over the weekend the company said it would replace chief executive Peter Loescher, who has been criticised for missing targets.
US markets traded lower in anticipation of this week's high-profile economic calendar, which includes a meeting of the US Federal Reserve's policy-making committee and releases of second-quarter US economic growth and monthly jobs data.
In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.73 percent to 15,507.76 and the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.77 percent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.27 percent.