Major stock markets pulled back from record levels on Monday while focus was firmly on the game of football as Europe's wealthiest clubs seek to form a breakaway Super League.

Among the dozen football clubs looking to form their own competition, shares in the publicly-listed Italian side Juventus and England's Manchester United both jumped.

"The financial incentive for the clubs is plain to see, with a multi-billion dollar package at the heart of the scheme, albeit it would forever break the integrity of the club game," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at

Shares of Juventus were up 17.5 percent near the closing bell on the Milan stock exchange, and Manchester United closed New York trading with a gain of nearly seven percent.

"A quieter start to the week has seen stock markets drift back on a lack of news, with only the goings-on in European football providing some interest," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

Wall Street's main indices closed lower on profit taking, with the Dow off 0.4 percent and S&P down 0.5 percent after both set new peaks on Friday and posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains.

Investors are poised for a big week of earnings reports with strong results from Coca-Cola released ahead of reports from Netflix, American Airlines and others.

"Each time the market goes high, it steps back and marches on to new highs. That is a sign of the market basically correcting itself a little bit, pulling back on intraday basis," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities told AFP.

European markets ended mostly lower in afternoon trading, with the DAX pulling away from a record set last week and the FTSE 100 holding onto 7,000 points -- a level it broke above last week for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic -- only by a whisker.

But in Asia, Shanghai finished up 1.5 percent and Hong Kong ended 0.5 percent higher, despite China's first-quarter economic growth data skating under market expectations at the end of last week.

Elsewhere on markets, bitcoin steadied around $56,000, down more than nine percent, after diving more than 15 percent at one point over the weekend after reports that the US Treasury could crack down on digital money laundering, according to NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Bitcoin hit a record high above $62,000 last week ahead of the Wall Street debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, despite concerns about a bubble and the sustainability of the digital currency market.

The US dollar slid Monday versus its main rivals.

Meanwhile, the pound surged more than 1.1 percent higher against the dollar.

"The pound went on a tear this Monday, using a quiet session to indulge in some economic optimism following the first weekend under the latest set of eased restrictions in the UK," said analyst Connor Campbell at Spreadex.

Both the Dow and S&P finished at new peaks on Friday and also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains
Both the Dow and S&P finished at new peaks on Friday and also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains AFP / Angela Weiss

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 34,077.63 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,163.26 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.0 percent at 13,914.77 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 at 4,019.91 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 7,000.08 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.6 percent at 15,368.39 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 6,296.69 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 29,685.37 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.5 percent at 29,106.15 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.5 percent at 3,477.62 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2035 from $1.1983

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3985 from $1.3832

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.03 pence from 86.57 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.15 yen from 108.80 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.5 percent at $67.11 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.4 percent at $63.40 per barrel