EUROPE MARKETS: Spanish Stocks Pause After Rally, As Other European Indexes End Little Changed
By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
The day's notable gainers include Just Eat and Lufthansa's stocks
Spanish stocks closed fractionally lower Thursday, catching their breath after the prior day's rally that was sparked by worries abating over Catalonia's independence push, while Europe's main equity benchmark also struggled for direction.
What stocks are doing: Spain's IBEX 35 index fell less than 0.1% to finish at 10,275.90, pausing after Wednesday's 1.3% gain . That advance came after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday suspended the independence process for the region, though Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded by suggesting that he's edging toward suspending Catalonia's autonomy .
The Spanish benchmark is up 0.9% for the week, but down 1% for October.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index closed less than 0.1% higher at 390.28.
What strategists are saying: The Spanish government's response has been "a little tougher than anticipated," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note Thursday. Rajoy may want to signal "that Madrid has the ultimate power," Aslam added.
Other key indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index edged up 0.1% to finish at 12,982.89 for another record close, while France's CAC 40 index inched down by less than 0.1% to 5,360.81.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index showed more life than its peer benchmarks, rising by 0.3% to end at a record at 7,556.24, according to FactSet data. It was helped by a drop in the pound that came on news of a stalemate in Brexit talks . The British benchmark last closed at a record more than four months ago.
Stock movers: Shares in Just Eat PLC (>> Just Eat) rose 6.5% for the Stoxx Europe 600's biggest gain after the food-delivery service scored a regulatory OK (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-provisionally-clears-just-eat-hungryhouse-merger) for its planned buyout of rival Hungryhouse.
Shares in Deutsche Lufthansa AG (>> Deutsche Lufthansa) added 2.3% after Bernstein analysts raised their rating for the Germany airline to "outperform" from "market perform," saying "positive catalysts are mounting." Encouraging developments include market consolidation in Germany and a deal with pilots that should reduce pension risks, the analysts wrote in a note.
Insolvent carrier Air Berlin PLC also said Thursday that it had agreed to sell parts of its business to Lufthansa for $248.5 million, in a deal that analysts have been anticipating.