Equity markets in Spain and Greece fell, dragging European stocks lower as holidays across the region curbed trading volume.
The IBEX 35 Index dropped 2 percent after local Spanish elections showed support for parties seeking to overturn the political establishment. The FTSE MIB Index of Italy, where anti-austerity sentiment is also on the rise, slid 2.1 percent. Greece’s ASE Index lost 3.1 percent as the government is priming investors for another cliffhanger on June 5.
The broad Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.3 percent to 406.56 at the close of trading in London, with the volume of shares changing hands 81 percent lower than the 30-day average. Equity markets in the U.K., Germany and Switzerland were among those closed for a holiday.
Stoxx 600 banks and utilities were the biggest decliners among 19 industry groups. Banco Santander SA, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Iberdrola SA were among the stocks contributing the most to the move in the Stoxx 600, falling more than 2 percent.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years. Anti-austerity party Podemos claimed its biggest victory in Barcelona. In Madrid, the PP edged it out by less than 50,000 votes in the race for city hall and could still be ousted if Podemos can reach a deal with the Socialists.
The nation’s bonds declined for a second day. The 10-year yield rose six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 1.84 percent.
Greece’s Piraeus Bank SA dropped 6.1 percent. The ASE fell after reaching its highest level since March last week. The country asked its creditors to compromise on demands that are holding up bailout funds as the deadline for payments to the International Monetary Fund approaches.
In Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV slid 3.1 percent. General Motors Co. in March rejected an invitation from Fiat’s chief executive officer to discuss a merger, the New York Times reported.
The Stoxx 600 advanced the most since mid-April last week, reaching a three-week high on Thursday, as European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said the ECB will increase bond buying in May and June. Yet the central bank slowed purchases of public-sector debt in the week ended May 22, data on the ECB website showed on Monday.