European stocks generally rose Monday, but those in Spain fell as yields on Spanish bonds topped 6% for the first time since December amid continued worries about the country's finances.
Overall, better-than-expected U.S. retail sales figures helped push up the Stoxx Europe 600 index by 0.3% to 254.26.
Investors are likely to focus heavily on auctions of Spanish treasury bills on Tuesday and bonds on Thursday. Analysts have feared that a break above 6% in yields could hasten a move to 7%, a level at which they say would bring unsustainable financing costs for the government.
The country's benchmark 10-year yield rose Monday to 6.06%, from 5.99% on Friday, and the IBEX-35 index fell 0.6% to 7209.10, its third consecutive loss.
Bank shares fell amid the worries in Spain and worries about downgrades, but they rebounded from lows seen early in the session.
On Friday, Moody's Investors Service delayed a plan to review more than 100 European banks until May. Moody's said it is "taking an appropriately deliberate approach during this review process and will conclude when it is confident that all relevant information has been received and analyzed."
Among national benchmarks, France's CAC 40 index added 0.5% to 3205.28, the German DAX rose 0.6% to 6625.19 and London's FTSE 100 firmed 0.3% to 5666.28.
declined 4.6% and Crédit Agricole
dropped 4.8%, both in Paris. Commerzbank
fell 3.6% in Frankfurt.
"It might just be stocks are beaten down and there are some investors who want to be in equities and don't want to be in banks," said John Ventre, fund manager at Skandia Investment Group. The market can't really sustain a strong rally without the help of banks, he added, but it could "generally drop sideways with an upward bias, a bit like today."
Among other stocks, French natural gas and electricity supplier GDF Suez
rose 2.9% after it sweetened its bid for the shares of International Power
it doesn't already own. International Power rose 3.2% in London.
rose 2.2% amid a firmer tone for pharmaceutical stocks across the board. GlaxoSmithKline
Hennes & Mauritz
rose 1.5%, after the Swedish retailer reported March total sales rose 26%, with comparable sales up 16%, on favorable weather and a positive calendar effect.
French oil producer Total
added 1.5%. The company announced improved first-quarter refining margins and said it had made significant progress in efforts to stem a natural-gas leak on its Elgin field platform in the British sector of the North Sea.
Vestas Wind Systems
surged 13% on a report in a Danish newspaper that two Chinese companies are looking at buying the wind-turbine manufacturer. A Vestas spokesman declined to comment.
dropped 1.9. On Friday, the German business-software company confirmed its full-year forecast, but business development in the first quarter fell short of analysts' expectations.
As European stock markets closed, the euro was trading at $1.3071 from $1.3078 late Friday in New York. The dollar was at ¥80.47 from ¥80.92 yen.
Late in Europe, light, sweet crude for May delivery was down 55 cents at $102.28 on the New York Mercantile exchange. Gold for June delivery was down $8.00 at $1652.20 per troy ounce late in Europe on Nynmex's Comex division.
—Michele Maatouk contributed to this article.
Write to Barbara Kollmeyer at email@example.com