- Democratic Rally wins Cyprus elections
- Italy election poll points to centre-left coalition win
- Greece expected to contract, recover in 2014
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.65%
Ibex 35: 0.50%
Stoxx 600: -0.04%
European equities finished Monday mostly higher as investors reacted positively to elections in Cyprus and Italy.
Conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades, the leader of the Democratic Rally party, won a double-digit victory in the Cypriot presidential election on Sunday. He defeated Stavros Malas, who is backed by AKEL, the Communist Party.
The results came ahead of crucial talks between the nation and international lenders over a bailout. The country's banks are in desperate need of recapitalisation due in part to its investments in Greek sovereign bonds.
In Italy, early exit polls released after voting closed on the second and final day of the parliamentary elections indicated a win by the centre-left coalition.
The centre-left, led by Pierluigi Bersani's Democratic party, is racing ahead in the nation's election five to six percentage points in front of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to a poll conducted for Sky Television.
The poll showed votes for Bersani on 34.5%, Silvio Berlusconi's centre right on 29%, Beppe Grillo on 19% and Mario Monti at 9.5%.
However, Berlusconi's People of Freedom centre-right alliance may still stop Bersani from winning an overall majority in the Senate, which is being fought on a region-by-region basis.
Final election results are expected late on Monday night.
Greek recovery to begin in 2014
The Greek economy is expected to contract by 4.5 % this year and recovery will not begin until 2014, according to Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos.
Provopoulos said the country must move ahead with the reforms agreed in the bailout package. "There is no doubt that 2013 will be a difficult year," he said.
"Strict adherence to the targets will ensure continued funding and eliminate once and for all the risk of exit from the euro area, attract new investment and convey a clear message that the worst is behind us."
Shares plummet at Pearson, Reckitt
plunged after the global education group announced gross restructuring costs of £200m over the next two years alongside its 2012 annual results which saw pre-tax profits fall 59% to £434m.
Reckitt Benckiser Group tumbled on news that it has lost exclusivity over its SUBOXONE tablets after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave two drug manufacturers the green light to produce generic versions of the drug.
German auto giant Volkswagen dropped after Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetschs said this year's first-quarter profit would be below the first quarter of 2012
Deutsche Boerse surged on market chatter that CME Group Inc. has approached the stock exchange operator about a merger.
The euro/dollar jumped 0.16% to the 1.3215 dollar
Front month Brent crude futures rose by 0.497 dollars to the 114.670 dollar per barrel mark on the ICE.