- European stocks were 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 morning trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 dropped 0.96%, France’s CAC 40 tumbled 0.99%, while Germany’s DAX plummeted 1.56%.

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 were broadly lower, as French lenders BNP Paribas (BNPP.PAR) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PAR) tumbled 1.58% and 1.60%, while Germany''s Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.XETRA) lost 1.35%.

Among peripheral lenders, Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MILAN) and Unicredit (CRDI.MILAN) plummeted 1.27% and 1.47% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (SAN.MADRID) and BBVA (BBVA.MADRID) retreated 0.98% and 1.07%.

On the upside, Lafarge (LAFP.PAR) saw shares surge 3.48% 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 0.19%, after Altice won the bidding contest for the company''s French phone unit SFR, beating a government-backed offer from Bouygues. The deal was valued at more than €17 billion.

In London, FTSE 100 declined 0.81%, as U.K. lenders tracked their European counterpart sharply lower.

Shares in HSBC Holdings (HSBA.LSE) slid 0.42% and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.LSE) tumbled 1.15%, while Lloyds Banking (LLOY.LSE) and Barclays (BARC.LSE) dropped 1.43% and 1.37%.

Mining stocks were also on the downside, with Glencore Xstrata (GLEN.LSE) retreating 0.49% and Rio Tinto (RIO.LSE) declining 0.71%, while rivals Vedanta Resources (VED.LSE) and Bhp Billiton (BLT.LSE) lost 0.58% and 1.33% respectively.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow 30 futures pointed to a 0.38% decline, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.45% drop, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.76% loss.

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