July 5 Reuters European shares were pinned below record highs on Monday as the global spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus raised fears of a stunted economic recovery, although Morrisons jumped as a takeover battle for the British firm heated up.
The panEuropean STOXX 600 was down 0.11 by 0707 GMT, with auto and travel stocks among the biggest decliners.
Mining stocks were among the rare gainers, jumping 1.4 and tracking metals prices.
The benchmark STOXX 600 has struggled to reclaim an alltime high hit midJune as the jump in virus cases raised the spectre of new travel restrictions and threatened to derail the euro zones economic rebound from the pandemicled recession.
All eyes on Monday will be on the blocs business activity data for June, due at 0800 GMT.
French shares fell 0.2 as Health Minister Olivier Veran warned France could be heading for a fourth wave of the pandemic due to the highly transmissible Delta variant.
Shares of Morrisons jumped 11.6 after U.S. private equity company Apollo Global Management said it was considering a possible offer for the British supermarket group. Morrisons on Saturday agreed to a 6.3 billion pound 8.7 billion takeover with another group.
Trading volumes are expected to be subdued with U.S. markets closed for an extended 4th of July weekend.
Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta