Europe edges lower in shortened session after separatists win Catalonia election; IBEX, banks slip

European markets posted declines on Friday, as investors digested the latest in political and economic news coming from the region.

The pan-European STOXX 600 came under pressure in early afternoon trade, off 0.25 percent, pulling back from the previous day’s session. Sectors pointed in different directions.

Major bourses fell into negative territory during the session, with the U.K.’s FTSE 100 closing down 0.15 percent provisionally. Spain’s IBEX 35 meanwhile fell as much as 1.5 percent at the open, before paring some losses.

Trading is set to be light across the continent in the last session ahead of the Christmas holiday. The FTSE 100 closed at 12:30 p.m. London time, while other European bourses will be closing shortly afterwards.

Shares pulled back slightly following news coming out of Spain. The region’s stocks tumbled Friday, after Catalonia’s separatists appeared set to regain power in the region, following local elections which took place Thursday. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said that the absolute majority win by the separatists was a victory of the “Catalan republic” over the Spanish state, Reuters reported.

Following the independence vote earlier this year, the news is set to continue to shake up the nation’s political crisis between Catalonia and Madrid. The euro slipped against a number of currencies, including the U.S. dollar and British pound.

Markets have also been digesting news surrounding U.S. tax reform,…

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