No Christmas Cheer for Spanish Stocks Hurt Again by Catalan Vote

Separatists Win Regional Election in Blow to Rajoy

A win for pro-independence parties in Catalonia’s election just made things worse for Spanish stocks.

A slump of as much as 1.6 percent on the last trading day before Christmas consolidated the IBEX 35 Index’s place at the bottom of the heap among major euro-area peers in the past six months. The index, which reigned supreme among regional benchmarks as recently as May, has since suffered from political turmoil sparked by an October referendum on secession.

Value investors had been betting on the election to spark a rebound in Spanish shares. Instead, the IBEX 35 deepened its quarterly loss to 1.7 percent, the most since the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, as the three separatist groups in Catalonia won 70 seats in the 135-strong assembly. Shares on the gauge remain close to their cheapest levels versus Europe since 2010.

Thursday’s result doesn’t suggest Catalan independence is any closer than it was at the end of October, when separatist leader Carles Puigdemont fled for Belgium to escape a Spanish court probe of the secessionist push that saw a number of his allies jailed. But it has weakened Rajoy’s position.

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