Most European markets opened higher ahead of central bank meetings in the UK, the US and in Brussels this week.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index opened 0.3% higher to 299.93

Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 index opened 0.6% higher.

Germany's DAX 30 index opened 0.8% higher

Spain's IBEX 35 was up 0.13% while Italy's FTSE MIB was down 0.12%.

The Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) will all announce interest rate decisions this week.

Market participants in the UK will be tracking the results of the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Distributive Trades Survey (DTS), which measures the health of the retail sector.

UK-based budget carrier Ryanair, consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser, energy firm National Grid, French food group Danone, advertiser JC Decaux and Netherlands-based courier firm TNT will all report earnings during the day.

Earlier, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Europe must keep up pressure on Greece to fulfil its financial obligations as he rejected the perception that the upcoming German election has put debt-crisis management on hold. Germany heads to the polls in September.

In company news, Publicis Groupe and US company Omnicom Group have agreed to merge to create the world's largest advertising company with $23bn (£14.9bn) in revenue, toppling market leader WPP off the number one spot. The talks were first reported on Saturday in IBTimes UK.

Shareholders of Paris-based Publicis Groupe and New York-based Omnicom will each hold about 50% of the new company, Publicis Omnicom Group. Publicis Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy and John Wren, his opposite number at Omnicom, will be co-CEOs.

In Asia and the US

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei finished 3.32% lower while South Korea's Kospi closed 0.57% lower. Australia's S&P/ASX index closed 0.09% higher.

Earlier in Asia, most markets opened lower, while Japanese stocks dropped to four-week lows, after being dragged down by a stronger yen and concerns surrounding China's economic growth trajectory.

In Japan, government data released early Monday morning showed that retail sales rose 1.6% in June from a year ago.

Earlier, government data from China showed that Chinese industrial profits climbed 6.3% in June from a year ago. This compared with a 15.5% rise in profits in May.

On Wall Street, indices logged modest gains on 26 July. The Dow finished 3.22 points higher at 15,558.83. The S&P 500 closed 1.40 points higher at 1,691.65, while the Nasdaq ended 7.98 points higher at 3,613.16.

For the week ended 27 July, the Dow finished 0.10% higher, while the Nasdaq ended 0.71% higher. The S&P 500 closed 0.03% lower.

Market participants will be tracking the US Federal Reserve Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meet, beginning 30 July. The Fed could provide more clarity on the future pace of US monetary stimulus at the end of the two-day meet.