- European stocks remained lower on Monday, tracking losses in U.S. equity markets on Friday and as investors eyed upcoming earnings reports to be released throughout the week.

During European afternoon trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 retreated 0.68%, France’s CAC 40 slid 0.69%, while Germany’s DAX tumbled 1.22%.

European equities had strengthened last week, after the European Central Bank indicated that unconventional monetary policy instruments may be necessary to avert the risk of ongoing low inflation in the euro zone.

In the U.S., data on Friday showed that the economy added 192,000 jobs in March, below expectations for jobs growth of 200,000. The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7%, compared to expectations for a downtick to 6.6%.

Although the data disappointed market expectations, it still seemed to indicate that the Federal Reserve will maintain the current pace of reductions to its asset purchase program.

Financial stocks remained broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) tumbled 1.70% and 1.75%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) lost 0.97%

Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) and Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) declined 0.54% and 1.06% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) and Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) retreated 0.45% and 0.54%.

On the upside, Lafarge (LAFP.PAR) saw shares surge 2.40% after agreeing to merge with Holcim Ltd. to create the world’s biggest cement maker with more than $40 billion in sales.

Vivendi (VIV.PAR) added to gains, up 1.51%, after Altice won the bidding contest for the company''s French phone unit SFR, beating a government-backed offer from Bouygues (BOUY.PAR). The deal was valued at more than €17 billion.

In London, FTSE 100 declined 0.59%, as U.K. lenders continued to track their European counterpart sharply lower.

Shares in HSBC Holdings (0005.HK) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) slid 0.51% and 0.76%, while Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) and Barclays (BARC.LSE) dropped 1.47% and 1.33%.

Mining stocks also remained on the downside, with Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) and Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) retreating 0.21% and 0.47%, while rivals Randgold Resources (RRS.LSE) and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) lost 0.62% and 1.12% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.27% decline, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.34% drop, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.70% loss.

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