European markets rose slightly above the flatline Monday mid-morning, despite a solid session seen out of Asia and crude markets.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up by 0.2 percent. In the U.K., markets are closed due to a public holiday.
Food and beverage was among the top performing sectors, up by 0.3 percent. Kerry group drove the sector higher, up by nearly 3 percent. The company reported last week a 3.7 percent increase in volumes during the first quarter of the year. At the same time, the sector received news that Nestle will pay $7.15 billion to Starbucks to market the products of the U.S. coffee firm around the world. Nestle shares rose 0.9 percent.
Technology stocks took the lead in late morning deals. At the top of the sector was Austria Microsystems, up by nearly 3 percent. The company is one of the suppliers of Apple. Comments from Warren Buffett over the weekend that he had made a wrong call on the stock has increased investor focus on Apple.
Looking across the European benchmark, the Danish firm Ambu led the gains, up by more than 14 percent. This was after its latest earnings, where the company reported higher revenues from a year ago. Air France sank to the bottom of the index, down by nearly 11 percent. This was after comments from Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister of France, stating that the government would not bailout the airline.
Oil is the focus for the commodity markets. Oil futures touched their highest level since late 2014 on Monday, with U.S. WTI jumping above $70 per barrel on Monday and Brent crude rising as high as $75.89 — the highest it has been since November 2014.
Prices were climbing on the back of concerns surrounding Venezuela’s oil exports and the future of the Iran nuclear deal. At 10:30 a.m. London time, Brent hovered around $75.54 per barrel, while U.S. WTI jumped to the $70.4 mark.