Spanish shares underperform amid Catalonia worries

LONDON (AP) — Global share indexes traded in narrow ranges Tuesday as geopolitical concerns, not least relating to developments in the Spanish region of Catalonia, kept sentiment in check, particularly in Madrid where the main index was down sharply.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 12,963 while the CAC 40 of France was flat at 5,364. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent to 7,524. The big faller was Spain’s IBEX which was down 1.1 percent at 10,125. U.S. stocks were poised for a flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.

CATALAN SITUATION: Investors around the world are keeping a close watch in developments in Spain following last week’s disputed referendum in Catalonia. All eyes will be on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is due to make a pronouncement later. He hasn’t revealed the precise message he will deliver in a 6 p.m. (1600GMT) session in the region’s parliament, but separatist politicians have said they expect a declaration based on the results of the disputed Oct. 1 independence referendum. The Catalan government has said the results of the referendum, showing a 90 percent victory for those favoring independence with a turnout of 43 percent of eligible voters, are valid. The Spanish government says the vote was illegal and is vowing to prevent independence from taking place.

ANALYST TAKE: “Once again, the Spanish IBEX is lagging behind its peers in Europe as speculation that Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont may be preparing to declare independence today continues to grow,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA. “The uncertainty is weighing heavily on risk appetite but it currently only appears to be directly impacting Spanish assets, with the euro showing little or no sign of being negatively affected.”

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.4 percent at $1.1782 while the dollar fell 0.2 percent to 112.43 yen.

ASIA’S DAY: Asian markets meandered higher during the day, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6 percent to 20,823.51, its highest close in over 21 years. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.7 percent to 2,435.52 after a weeklong holiday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed 0.6 percent to 28,490.83 while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was almost unchanged at 5,738.10. The Shanghai Composite index rose 0.3 percent to 3,382.99.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 66 cents to $50.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 56 cents to $56.35 per barrel.


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