EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Slip As Auto Shares Fall, Credit Suisse Climbs

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

DAX hovers around 13,000 record, but Spanish stocks fall as Catalan crisis persists

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European stocks slipped into the red Tuesday, as shares of auto makers fell after a lackluster demand update and as Spanish stocks suffered as the Catalan crisis continued.

But shares of Credit Suisse Group AG shares gained on reports an activist investor is seeking a break-up of the Swiss bank after acquiring a stake.

What shares are doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 0.1% at 391.19 after opening fractionally higher. Health care and consumer services shares were down the most while utility, tech and financial shares were up. On Monday, the benchmark closed flat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spanish-stocks-dragged-down-by-catalonia-uncertainty-sapping-european-benchmark-2017-10-16).

Catalan crisis persists: In Madrid, the IBEX 35 lost 0.3% to 10,155.90, on track for a fourth consecutive loss, as uncertainty swirls around the Catalan region's stance on officially declaring independence from Spain.

"We downgrade Spain [stocks] from Bullish to modestly Bearish.There are simply no positive catalysts," said Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies, in a research note published Tuesday.

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Auto makers stall:New car sales in the European Union fell 2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eu-new-car-registrations-fall-as-demand-slows-2017-10-17) in September as demand for passenger cars slowed in Europe's five biggest markets, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, known as ACEA.

Shares of car makers struggled after the report. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW.XE) (BAYN.XE) fell 0.4%, Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) (VOW.XE) gave up 0.3%, and Renault SA (RNO.FR) was off 0.3%. But Daimler AG (DAI.XE) (DAI.XE) was up 0.2%.

Banks on the up: The Stoxx Europe 600 Bank Index picked up 0.1%, with the small move outperforming other sector-tracking indexes.

Gainers included Credit Suisse (CSGN.EB) as its shares rose 1.4% as Swiss hedge fund RBR Capital Advisors AG said it bought a stake in the Swiss bank (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/activist-rbr-capital-buys-stake-in-credit-suisse-2017-10-17). A local press report had said RBR is seeking to break up Credit Suisse (https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/credit-suisse-facing-break-up-calls-from-activist-investor-20171017?mod=mktw).

Meanwhile, U.K.-listed banks were higher as prospects for a U.K. rate hike picked up after inflation accelerated to 3% in September. That was the highest rate since early 2012.

Barclays PLC (BCS) (BCS) was up 1.5%, while Royal Bank Of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.LN) (RBS.LN) picked up 0.7%. HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBA.LN) (HSBA.LN) gained 0.3%.

But in London, the FTSE 100 index was off 0.2% at 7,518.86.

Other movers: Merlin Entertainments PLC (MERL.LN) tumbled 18%. The theme park operator reported that its year-to-date comparable-revenue growth was flat, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/merlin-says-revenue-hit-by-weather-terror-attacks-2017-10-17) saying its London sites were hurt by bad weather and the effect of terrorist attacks.

Airbus SE (AIR.FR) rose 2.5% as the French aircraft maker and Bombardier Inc. (BBD.A.T) on Monday agreed to a joint venture (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bombardier-may-partner-with-airbus-on-cseries-jetliners-2017-10-16). Airbus will acquire a 50.01% stake in Bombardier CSeries jets.

Pearson PLC shares (PSON.LN) rallied 6% after the educational materials publisher raised the lower end of its full-year earnings outlook.

Other indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index was fractionally lower at 13,298.35, a day after closing above the 13,000 mark for the first time. The German ZEW survey showed a rise in economic expectations to 17.6 in October, from the 17.0 registered in September, but that still missed forecasts for a gain to 20.4.

France's CAC 40 index was down 0.1% at 5,353.65.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2017 05:53 ET (09:53 GMT)