Markets

European markets eke gains after Spain's Socialists win snap election

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged higher during afternoon deals, with sectors and major bourses in mixed territory.
  • Spain's ruling socialists clinched victory in the country's general election Sunday.
  • The result also saw Spain's Vox party gain 24 seats, making it the first far-right party to enter parliament since military rule ended in the 1970s.

European stocks closed a touch higher on Monday, after weak euro zone data exacerbated fears over the outlook for the global economy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended .06 percent just above the flatline on Monday with sectors pointing in opposite directions.

Official data published Monday showed euro zone economic sentiment slipped for the 10th consecutive month to its lowest level in more than two years in April. Sentiment in the bloc fell to 104.0 points in April, down from 105.6 in March, as managers in the industry and retail sector became more downbeat.

Oil and gas stocks struggled, down more than 1% shortlya fter 4p.m. London time. This comes after the oil price continued a slump after President Donald Trump claimed that he demanded OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Meanwhile, Europe's banking index was one of the few sectoral gainers, up around 0.5% after S&P Global affirmed Italy's credit rating at BBB on Friday. The agency is giving more time for Rome's populist government to implement policies to address the country's economic woes. Banco BPM and UBI Banca both finished up around 3.5 % on the news.

Looking at individual stocks, Germany's Bayer slumped toward the bottom of the European benchmark. On Saturday, the firm's supervisory board said it stands behind the management after a majority of shareholders refused to ratify management's actions in 2018. Shares of Bayer slipped over 3.5%.

Sticking with Germany, chemicals maker Covestro said Monday core profit tumbled 58% over the first three months of 2019, with product prices under pressure as rivals bolster their output. Shares of the company fell more than 1.2%.

Spain's socialists win snap election

Market participants eagerly await a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Chinese factory data for further clues on policy direction in the world's largest economies.

It comes after the U.S. reported stronger-than-anticipated growth over the first three months of the year. Official data showed gross domestic product (GDP) stood at an annualized rate of 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, beating analyst expectations.

The U.S. central bank's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is due to announce its latest monetary policy decision on Wednesday.

Back in Europe, Spain's ruling socialists clinched victory in the country's general election Sunday.

The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) won the most seats over the weekend but fell significantly short of a majority needed to form a government alone.

The election result also saw Spain's Vox party gain 24 seats, making it the first far-right party to enter parliament since military rule ended in the 1970s.