Stocks mostly slipped lower Monday following weak Chinese economic data that added to recession worries amid inflation and rising interest rates.

China's retail sales slumped 11.1 percent year-on-year in April, while industrial production sank 2.9 percent -- the lowest showing since March 2020.

The economic hemorrhaging has been driven by China's Covid-19 lockdowns, with Shanghai in particular under strict virus restrictions since April, shuttering factories and pausing port activity.

"Sentiment continues to remain cautious... as it becomes ever more apparent that the Chinese economy is likely to stay in the doldrums for a while yet, with the damage caused by Covid restrictions unlikely to improve significantly until well into the summer," said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

Economist Clifford Bennett of ACY Securities said "there is a very real risk, even likelihood of a triple northern hemisphere recession across the US, Europe and China simultaneously and virtually immediately."

FHN Financial's Chris Low also cited gloomy comments from former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke who warned of possible "stagflation"-type economic conditions and told CNBC the Fed under current Chairman Jerome Powell had waited too long to address inflation.

While the Dow eked out a slight gain, the other two major indices finished lower, with the tech-rich Nasdaq slumping 1.2 percent.

London ended with a gain, but both Frankfurt and Paris finished lower amid more signs of economic fragility in the eurozone.

Brussels on Monday sharply cut its eurozone growth forecast for 2022, blaming skyrocketing energy prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In commodities trading, wheat prices surged to a record after India banned exports of the commodity owing to a heatwave hitting production.

Global wheat prices had already soared on tight supply concerns since Russia's February invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12 percent of world exports.

The price jumped to 435 euros ($453) per ton as the European market opened Monday.

Despite the recession concerns, oil prices rose on Monday as traders focused on risks of supply disruptions as EU nations continue to move towards a ban on Russian oil imports.

Analysts also cited the easing of Chinese Covid-19 restrictions and an ensuing uptick in oil demand.

On the corporate front Monday, American fast-food giant McDonald's said it would exit the Russian market and sell its business in the country to a local buyer in the wake of the Ukraine war.

One of the main drivers of volatility is China's continued lockdowns of some cities due to its zero-covid policy
One of the main drivers of volatility is China's continued lockdowns of some cities due to its zero-covid policy AFP / Noel Celis

French automaker Renault has meanwhile handed over its Russian assets to the Russian government, marking the first major nationalization since the onset of sanctions over Moscow's military campaign.

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 32,223.42 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,008.01 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 1.2 percent at 11,662.79 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,464.80 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.5 percent at 13,964.38 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,347.77 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,685.34 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.3 percent at 19,950.21 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,073.75 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 26,547.05 (close)

Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.4 percent at $114.24 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 3.4 percent at $114.20 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0436 from $1.0412 at 2100 GMT Friday