Madrid stocks and euro slide on Catalonia vote

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LONDON: The euro and the Spanish stock market slid on Monday (Oct 2) as voting in a banned Catalonia independence referendum was marked by a violent police crackdown.

But most other European markets rose as the weaker euro is positive for exporters in the region, analysts said, with the Frankfurt DAX index reaching an all-time closing high, analysts said.

“European bourses are starting the new quarter positively as US dollar strength and subsequent sterling and euro weakness help to aid the army of foreign earning and exporting names in the region,” said Accendo Markets analyst, Henry Croft.

A firmer showing on Wall Street – following strong international economic data and ahead of a heavy calendar of US economic reports – also helped underpin prices in Europe.

Analysts said sentiment on Wall Street was not affected by a brutal mass shooting in Las Vegas that resulted in at least 50 fatalities.

Back in Europe, “traders are clearly a little concerned about the impact of the (Catalan) vote, not to mention how the situation was handled by the Spanish authorities,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

Spain’s IBEX stock index was “the worst performing major index in Europe on Monday, down more than one per cent, while the euro is also suffering in the aftermath of the vote, down more than half a percent against the dollar,” Erlam said.

Frankfurt, Paris and London equities posted moderate gains, with the German market reaching an all-time closing high, while the British market was buoyed somewhat as the collapse of Monarch Airlines handed a boost to rival carriers.

Monarch Airlines ceased trading suddenly on Monday following a financial collapse, the biggest failure of an airline in Britain, prompting the government into emergency action in returning home 110,000 stranded passengers.

The news sent EasyJet shares soaring 4.8 per cent to 1,276 pence, while British Airways owner IAG rallied 2.1 per cent to 606 pence.

‘CHAOS IN CATALONIA’

Madrid stocks, however, shed more than one per cent on the back of the disputed Catalonia vote, and the European single currency fell sharply against the dollar.

Spain will do “everything within the law” to prevent Catalonia from declaring independence, Justice Minister Rafael Catala said on Monday, a day after Catalonia’s regional government declared victory in a banned secession referendum.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared late on Sunday that Catalonia had won the right to break away from Spain after 90 per cent of voters taking part in the referendum voted for independence, defying a sometimes violent police crackdown and fierce opposition from Madrid.

“The chaos in Catalonia yesterday on the back of the referendum on independence has sent the Spanish stock market lower,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“Violent clashes between the police and voters has spooked investors, and money is flowing out of the country on account of it.

“Thanks to the heavy-handed response from Madrid, the Catalonian question has now become even more divisive.”

Key figures around 1545 GMT:

New York – DOW: UP 0.3 per cent at 22,477.77 points
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 per cent at 7,438.84 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.6 per cent at 12,902.65 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 per cent at 5,350.44 (close)
Madrid – IBEX 35: DOWN 1.2 per cent at 10,255.70 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 per cent at 3,602.69 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 per cent at 20,400.78 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1742 from US$1.1.1813 late Friday
Dollar/yen: UP at 112.69 yen from 112.58 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.3262 from US$1.3287

Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN US$1.04 at US$55.74 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN US$1.42 at US$50.25