European shares were in the red as the end of the final trading day before Christmas edged closer. A win for the separatists in the Catalan local elections weighed on sentiment and stocks. Spanish banks lost ground as news of the win was confirmed.
By 1355 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was 0.19% lower, while the EUROSTOXX 50 was off 0.53%. The Spanish IBEX led declines among regional bourses, falling 1.20%. The German DAX was down 0.24% while the French CAC lost 0.42%.
Catalan separatists win slight majority
Following political problems in Spain earlier in the year, the victory for the Catalan separatists in a local vote was a blow to Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy. It also weighed heavily in investor sentiment as it adds to business and economic uncertainty in the region.
Former Catalonian separatist leader Carles Puigdemont has called for talks to be held between the Catalan and Spanish leaders.
“Catalonia wants to be an independent state. This is the wish of the Catalan people," said Puigdemont, speaking in Belgium, according to a BBC article. "I think the plan of [Spanish Prime Minister] Mariano Rajoy is not working, so we have to find new ways to tackle this crisis.”
Puidgemiont is currently living in self-imposed exile in Brussels and has called for the talks to be held there, or in another European country.
The Spanish Government is currently meeting to discuss the election result. The election had been called in a bid to put a line under the separatist movement that had gathered pace, previously.
As investors assess the Catalan vote result, they chose to move out of Spanish banks.
Caixabank shares were down 3.35% to €3.95, Banco de Sabadell shares lost 3.20% to trade at €1.69 while Banco Santander shares ended the London session 1.96% lower at £497.54.
Meanwhile, shares in Swiss pharma Roche were also lower, trading 0.28% in the red at CHF246.10.