EUROPE MARKETS: Spanish Stocks Shoot Higher, Buoying European Equities At 5-month High

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

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European stocks steadied around a five-month high Monday, with much of the action centered around Spanish stocks 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 1.3% to 10,331.80, with shares of CaixaBank SA (CABK.MC) and Banco de Sabadell SA (SAB.MC) each up 2.9%. That nearly wipes out Friday's drop of 1.5%.

But the Stoxx Europe 600 index was fractionally higher at 393.44. Losses for the consumer goods, utility, basic materials and health care sectors offset gains for oil and gas, telecom, tech, consumer services, financial and industrial shares.

The index 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) to end at its highest level since May 16, FactSet data showed. The pan-European benchmark last week rose 0.9%.

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Monday's session saw Germany's DAX 30 index rise 0.1% to 13,228.50 following Friday's finish at an all-time closing high.

In Paris, the CAC 40 moved up 0.1% to 5,497.153, but in London, the FTSE 100 fell 0.1% to 7,497.27 (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:

Spanish stocks were in 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) after separatist lawmakers declared the region an independent republic. On Sunday in the Catalonia region, 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)

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has set new legislative elections in Catalonia for Dec. 21. A poll released Sunday of 1,000 people for El Mundo newspaper (http://www.elmundo.es/) showed anti-independence parties winning 43.4% of the vote compared with 42.5% support for pro-independence parties.

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 10-year Spanish government bonds fell 6 basis points to 1.513%, according to Tradeweb. Yields fall as prices rise.

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 1.9% as the Spanish lender's 10% fall in third-quarter profit to EUR225 million was less than expected. Profit was expected at EUR197 million, according to a Reuters poll.

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (BKG.LN) fell 2.7% and Bellway PLC (BWY.LN) dropped 2.4%, leading decliners on the Stoxx 600 after Barclays downgraded the U.K. home builders. Berkeley goes to underweight from equal weight and Bellway goes to equal weight from overweight.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2017 06:19 ET (10:19 GMT)