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European markets end mostly higher as Catalonia tensions rumble on

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.19 percent, as investors kept watch of the economic and political developments taking place in Europe
  • Utilities was the best-performing sector on Monday, ending 1.39 percent higher
  • The ECB released its latest set of stress test results on the potential impact of interest rate changes to the area's banking system

European stocks finished Monday's trade mostly higher, as investors took note of the individual stock news, while keeping watch of what was going on economically and politically.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 came off its session highs to close up provisionally at 0.19 percent. On the sector front, most industries closed in the black.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.20 percent by the close, while the French CAC 40 finished slightly higher, up 0.11 percent.

Germany's DAX finished up 0.16 percent, after the index hit a new all-time high during trade. This move came after data showed that German industrial output rose more than expected in August.

Utilities was Europe's best-performing sector on Monday, popping 1.39 percent by the close. This comes after the Norwegian oil company Statoil said it found an area containing up to 130 million barrels of oil in the North Sea. British utility firm E.On rose some 3 percent in trade.

Technology stocks rose 0.89 percent by the close, with Ericsson rising 2.74 percent. This follows news that the Swedish firm would choose Ronnie Leten, a former CEO at Atlas Copco, as its new chairman.

Expect status quo to prevail in Catalonia with some disruptions, economist says

Basic resources, however, ended 0.55 percent down as a sector, not helped by a decline in some metal prices during later trade. London-listed miners including Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and Antofagasta all slipped more than 1.5 percent, which weighed on the FTSE 100.

Looking at the major individual stock movers, Man Group jumped 3.27 percent after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded its rating on the stock to "outperform". Telecom firm TDC also got a boost, jumping 2.48 percent after Barclays raised its target price on the stock.

On the other side, German firm K+S dropped 8.2 percent after it posted a strategy update. Airbus shares meanwhile slipped 2.25 percent, with traders linking the decline to comments made by the firm's CEO, who warned of potential turbulence ahead for the company; Reuters reported.

Spain uncertainty drags

Political instability in Spain continued with hundreds of thousands of protesters gathering in Catalonia's capital Barcelona over the weekend to protest against a resurgent independence movement that has been gathering steam in recent days.

Stress tests are just part of a conversation between ECB and banks: Analyst

Both real estate firm Inmobiliaria Colonial and infrastructure company Abertis have called meetings on Monday to discuss relocating their head offices outside of Catalonia.

The IBEX was recovering on Monday — up 0.5 percent by the close — after being under pressure last week following the referendum vote.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank (ECB) released its stress test results on the potential impact of interest rate changes to the area's banking system. The ECB said that interest rate risk is well managed in most European banks.

Overseas, U.S. equities were trading relatively mixed by the Europe market close, as Wall Street paused for breath ahead of earnings season. Meanwhile, markets in Asia finished mostly higher.