The euro was given support from strong German data but investors remain wary owing to the uncertainty caused by Spain's Catalonia independence crisis
London (AFP) - Madrid’s stock market fell Tuesday, while the euro rose versus the dollar, with all eyes on whether Catalonia’s leader will declare the region’s independence from Spain, a key eurozone economy.
Outside the eurozone, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 stocks index climbed as traders shrugged off news of a widening British trade deficit and slowing UK industrial growth against a background of Brexit uncertainty.
Shares in BAE Systems were down 0.2 percent at 617.50 pence after the British maker of defence equipment said it plans to cut almost 2,000 jobs, mainly owing to weaker demand for Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk fighter jets.
Eurozone “equities are trading lower thanks to a stronger euro and Catalonia worries”, with the single currency weighing on share prices of multi-nationals earning in other currencies, said IG analyst, Chris Beauchamp.
- Catalonia crisis -
Spain’s worst political crisis in a generation meanwhile comes to a head Tuesday as Catalonia’s leader could declare independence from Madrid in a move likely to send shock waves through Europe.
Whether or not Carles Puigdemont will follow through on his threat to announce a full breakaway – defying the central government and Spanish courts – was still anyone’s guess.
The crisis has caused deep uncertainty for businesses in one of Spain’s wealthiest regions.
A string of companies have already moved their legal headquarters – but not their employees – from Catalonia to other parts of the country.
Elsewhere Tuesday, traders sent shares rallying in Japan and South Korea as they returned from a long weekend, while most other Asian markets tacked on gains despite a soft lead from Wall Street.
Seoul’s Kospi jumped 1.6 percent and Tokyo finished up 0.6 percent at its highest level in more than two years.
Unease over US-North Korea tensions also subsided as Kim Jong-Un’s regime did not launch, as some had feared, another long-range missile to mark the anniversary of the founding of the ruling party on Tuesday.
Hong Kong ended at a new 10-year high.
- Key figures around 1015 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,522.86 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 12,956.2
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.1 percent at 5,361.74
Madrid - IBEX 35: DOWN 0.9 percent at 10,145.3
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,599.56
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 percent at 28,490.83 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.3 percent at 3,382.99 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 20,823.51 (close)
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.1 percent at 22,761.07 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1797 from $1.1741 at 2100 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3190 from $1.3140
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.34 yen from 112.65 yen
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 45 cents at $56.24 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 41 cents at $49.99