European markets close mostly up; Spanish stocks surge 2.5%

Key Points
  • Spanish stocks bounced back Thursday afternoon with the IBEX 35 up around 2.5 percent
  • Siemens has concluded the sale of the last 17 percent stake in Osram Licht
  • Auto stocks traded marginally higher despite lower new car sales figures in the U.K.

European stocks closed just above the flatline, up 0.16, as investors monitored political events and took a cautious approach ahead of key data releases.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day's trading 0.16 percent higher with sectors pointing in different directions at the close. Overseas, Wall Street posted gains around the European market close, with stocks hitting record highs during early trade.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 closed up 0.54 percent, while the French CAC 40 was seen at 0.30. Meanwhile, the German DAX closed almost flat at -0.02 percent.

Construction and material stocks were among the worst-performing sectors in afternoon trade following news that the CEO of Assa Abloy is considering stepping down. Shares of the Swedish company fell nearly 5 percent as a result, and hit the bottom of the European benchmark by the close.

Spanish stocks bounced back at Thursday's close with the IBEX 35 finishing up around 2.5 percent after news emerged that Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended a session of the Catalan Parliament due to take place Monday. During this, political leaders were expected to declare Catalonia's independence from Spain.

The stock market has seen a significant sell-off since the start of the week on political concerns. The national government has asked the region to return to the path of law, according to Reuters.

Banco Sabadell and Caixabank closed as the Stoxx 600's top two performers, up 6.16 percent and 4.93 percent respectively. This followed reports that both banks were considering moving their offices from Barcelona.

Meanwhile, utilities popped over 1 percent, having recovered from the previous session as traders shift their focus from caps on energy bills to growth prospects. EDF rose 3.29 percent after a rating upgrade on supportive regulation and higher carbon prices.

Auto stocks closed largely flat. This came after lower new car sales figures in the U.K. Data showed Thursday a drop of 8.8 percent on the year in new registrations in September.

"Car sales remain well below last year's levels, as the inflation-driven squeeze on real incomes makes households reluctant to make major financial commitments," Samuel Tombs, chief U.K. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in an email.

Brent crude was trading up $1.11, or 2 percent around the close. Prices rose on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia would extent the current agreement to curb production.

In the corporate world, Siemens has concluded the sale of the last 17 percent stake in Osram Licht for 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion). The latter remained under pressure, down over 4.5 percent in trade.