Spanish relief rally nudges up European stocks

Market report: Pound rises to four-week high against the euro on currency markets

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flag while holding a sign reading “38 percent is not Catalonia”.

Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flag while holding a sign reading “38 percent is not Catalonia”.


Spanish equities rebounded on Monday, reassured by weekend demonstrations for a unified Spain and a poll lead for parties opposed to Catalan independence. Spain’s Ibex benchmark rose 2.4 per cent, outperforming a 0.1 per cent gain for the pan-European Stoxx 600 index.


The Dublin market was flat, with trading volumes low as a result of the local bank holiday. The Iseq index closed up 0.2 per cent, with few dramatic moves.

Building materials group CRH, the largest stock on the index, lost 1.2 per cent to €32.08, while insurance group FBD was another faller, closing down 1.1 per cent at €8.90 and Ryanair nudged down 0.3 per cent ahead of its half-year results on Tuesday morning.

Elsewhere, most stocks posted gains, with Paddy Power Betfair and Permanent TSB Group both adding more than 2 per cent, Smurfit Kappa rising 1.2 per cent to €25.76 and Glanbia up 1.6 per cent to €16.60. Glanbia, Paddy Power Betfair and Smurfit Kappa all publish earnings updates on Wednesday.

The real estate investment trust stocks Green Reit and Hibernia Reit also advanced.


The FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent, weighed down by falls for housebuilder stocks. Bellway and Berkeley lost 1.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively after analysts at Barclays downgraded both of them.

Shares in HSBC fell 1.5 per cent despite reporting a five-fold jump in its quarterly profits as broker Investec maintained its sell rating on the stock.

EasyJet shares rose almost 2 per cent after the discount airline clinched a deal to buy up part of Air Berlin’s operations for €40 million.

Mining and resources giant Glencore rose 0.8 per cent after falling earlier in the session following a trading update and a report saying it would cancel its secondary listing in Hong Kong due to lack of interest from investors.

Sterling hit a four-week high against the euro, bolstered by the view that the Bank of England will this week raise interest rates for the first time in over a decade. Stocks that benefit from pound weakness, such as British American Tobacco and Diageo, fell.


Spanish banks Caixabank and Banco de Sabadell jumped more than 4 per cent, leading Spain’s Ibex index 2.4 per cent higher.

Spain’s Bankia gained 2.2 per cent after reporting a smaller-than-expected drop in net profit and as the lender made progress in shrinking its bad loan portfolio.

European tech stocks joined a global tech rally on the back of solid earnings from US stalwarts and on strong pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone X. European iPhone suppliers STMicro, Dialog Semi and AMS rose 2.3 per cent, 5.6 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

French electrical supply distribution group Rexel rose 1.3 per cent on a broker upgrade.

Dutch paints maker Akzo Nobel, under pressure after rejecting a lucrative takeover offer and two profit warnings, confirmed talks with smaller US rival Axalta Coating Systems and rose 0.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, euro zone economic confidence surged to its highest in almost 17 years, reflecting an improved outlook for the region.


Wall Street stocks extended losses in early afternoon trading on Monday after a report that the House of Representatives was discussing “a gradual phase-in” for President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cut plans.

Earlier in the session, the Nasdaq Composite hit a record high after Apple shares jumped on research notes pointing to strong demand for the iPhone X.

The healthcare sector was under pressure after Merck dipped 6.13 per cent, setting up the drugmaker for its biggest two-day decline on record, after the company said it had withdrawn an application for European use of its key cancer immunotherapy.

Mondelez fell 2 per cent ahead of its earnings report, expected after the close of markets. General Motors dipped 3 per cent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company’s stock to “sell” from “neutral”.

- Additional reporting: Reuters