EUROPE MARKETS: Spanish Stocks Finish With Their Biggest Daily Gain In More Than 3 Weeks

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Stoxx Europe 600 sets 5-month closing high

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European stocks scored the highest close in five months Monday, with much of the action centered around Spanish equities after the central government in Madrid took control of the Catalonia region following its push for independence.

What stock indexes are doing:

In Madrid, the IBEX 35 climbed 2.4% to end at 10,446.00, with shares of CaixaBank SA (CABK.MC) and Banco de Sabadell SA (SAB.MC) jumping by 4.2% and 5.7%, respectively.

The Spanish stock gauge achieved its biggest daily percentage gain since Oct. 5, or more than three weeks ago, according to FactSet data.

Meanwhile, the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1% to close at 393.91, ending at its highest level since May 16. The pan-European benchmark on Friday rose 0.6% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-extend-gains-as-euro-remains-lower-after-dovish-ecb-move-2017-10-27), as it gained 0.9% for the week.

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Monday's session also saw Germany's DAX 30 index rise 0.1% to end at 13,229.57 for another all-time closing high.

In Paris, the CAC 40 closed fractionally lower at 5,493.63, and in London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.2% to finish at 7,487.81 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-set-for-first-loss-in-3-sessions-as-homebuilders-hsbc-fall-2017-10-30)

What's moving markets:

Spain's stocks entered recovery mode after the Spanish government late Friday ousted leaders in Catalonia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spain-seizes-power-as-tension-mounts-in-independence-bent-catalonia-2017-10-28) in reaction to separatist lawmakers declaring the region an independent republic. On Sunday in Catalonia, hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in a show of unity with the rest of Spain. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hundreds-of-thousands-of-pro-unity-demonstrators-rally-in-catalonia-2017-10-29)

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has set new legislative elections in Catalonia for Dec. 21. A poll for the El Mundo newspaper (http://www.elmundo.es/) has found that 33.5% of respondents want secession compared with 58.3% who do not.

Meanwhile, preliminary data on Monday showed Spain's GDP expanded by 0.8% in the third quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spanish-economy-grows-08-in-3rd-quarter-2017-10-30) from the previous quarter, meeting expectations.

The yield on the 10-year Spanish government bond fell 6 basis points to 1.513%, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as prices rise.

Read:Catalan leader goes to Brussels, as top prosecutor calls for charges of rebellion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/with-catalonia-now-under-spain-rule-some-start-to-see-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-2017-10-30)

What strategists are saying:

"Although uncertainty will persist till 21 December, early elections could ease some of the markets' concerns," said UBS economist Reinhard Cluse in a research note. "We currently forecast Spanish GDP to grow by 3.1% this year and 2.3% in 2018--with next year's deceleration not an expression of negative expectations, but an almost inevitable slowdown after years of impressively strong growth."

Stock movers:

Bankia SA (BKIA.MC) climbed 2.2% as the Spanish lender's 10% fall in third-quarter profit to EUR225 million was smaller than expected. Profit was expected at EUR197 million, according to a Reuters poll.

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (BKG.LN) fell 1.4% and Bellway PLC (BWY.LN) dropped 1.1%, as they were among the notable decliners in the Stoxx 600 after Barclays downgraded the U.K. home builders. Berkeley was cut to underweight from equal weight, while Bellway went to equal weight from overweight.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2017 13:03 ET (17:03 GMT)