European Stocks Fall on Last Pre-Christmas Trading Day as Spanish Banks Weigh After Catalonia Vote

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European stocks slipped on the last trading day before the Christmas holidays Friday, with Spanish lenders being the biggest decliners after pro-independence parties secured a majority in Catalonia's regional elections, which is expected to rekindle uncertainty over the region which declared independence two months ago after a referendum deemed unconstitutional by Spain.

Risk assets took "a knock following the Separatists' narrow victory in the Catalonia poll yesterday," Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said by e-mail. "2017 saw a number of political risk events, but none have been quite as interesting or as durable as the Catalonian issue. This, perhaps more than Brexit, threatens to be the problem to watch in 2018."

In economic news, France's rate of Q3 economic growth was revised higher. Gross domestic product ( GDP ) rose 0.6% from the previous quarter, rather than 0.5% estimated in November, France's statistics office Insee said. The rate of expansion was the same as in Q2.

Household consumption expenditure accelerated 0.6% after 0.3% in Q2, while total gross fixed capital formation remained dynamic, rising 0.9% after growing 1.1% in Q2. All in all, final domestic demand excluding changes in inventories increased, contributing 0.6 percentage point to GDP growth in Q3, Insee said.

In Germany, import prices rose 2.7% in November from a year earlier, according to data published by the country's federal statistics agency Destatis. In October and September, they grew an annual 2.6% and 3%, respectively.

In equities, German energy provider Innogy said it acquired an onshore wind pipeline of more than 2 gigawatts in the US as it seeks to expand its renewables in that market. The shares rose 2.3%. Other movers in Frankfurt included utility RWE, rising 2%, and Deutsche Bank falling 1.2%.

On London's FTSE 100, clothing retailer Next gained 3.7% and consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser added 1.7%. Equipment rental company Ashtead Group fell 1.7%.

On the CAC 40 in Paris, Financial services firm Capgemini gained 0.9% and grocer Carrefour added 0.8%. Luxury-goods retailer Kering, the owner of the Gucci brand, fell 1.3%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.12% and the DAX fell 0.28%. The FTSE 100 dropped 0.22% and the CAC 40 declined 0.39%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: GDP , DAX

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