European shares open lower

MILAN, Jumada I 27, 1437, Mar 7, 2016, SPA — European shares fell on Monday following recent gains, led by French utility EDF, with investors awaiting the European Central Bank policy meeting later this week to give near-term direction, Reuters reported.

EDF fell 6.4 percent after Finance Director Thomas Piquemal resigned. EDF did not say why he had quit but a source familiar with the matter said it was related to EDF’s plan to build two nuclear reactors in Hinkley Point, in Britain.

But Old Mutual surged 11 percent as the company said it was considering strategic options following a Sky News report on Saturday that the financial services company was plotting a 9 billion pounds ($12.7 billion) break-up.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had risen to one-month highs on Friday after three straight weeks of gains, stood 0.1 percent lower in early session trading.

European stocks have rallied recently after a rocky start to 2016, as oil prices recovered and fears over a U.S. economic slowdown abated. Nevertheless, the FTSEurofirst remains down around 7 percent since the start of the year.

11:44 LOCAL TIME 08:44 GMT