U.S. Markets

European shares fall on Catalonia standoff, disappointing Q3 earnings

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares fell across on Thursday as Spain’s political showdown with Catalonia deepened, and a batch of third-quarter results brought some disappointments for investors.

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

The pan-European STOXX 600 .STOXX accelerated losses to 0.6 percent after Catalonia failed to meet a deadline set by Madrid to renounce its independence bid, setting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on course to impose direct rule on the region.

Madrid's IBEX .IBEX was down 1 percent, lagging other markets.

London's FTSE .FTSE, Paris's CAC 40 .FCHI, Frankfurt's DAX .GDAXI and Milan's FTSE MIB FTMIB were down 0.6 percent, 0.5 percent, 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Bank stocks .SX7P fell back 0.7 percent as Spanish lenders came under pressure, while Spanish government bond yields rose.

“The market is going in risk-off mode”, said Pierre Martin, a senior sales trader at Saxo Bank a few minutes after the latest developments in the Spanish crisis hit the headlines.

Earlier, markets had retreated only slightly, after underwhelming third quarter trading updates.

Shares in advertising group Publicis PUBP.PA fell more than 6 percent after third-quarter sales were below market forecasts, while German forklift truck and robotics maker Kion KGX.DE was down 9.2 percent after it cut its 2017 guidance.

Unilever ULVR.L fell 4.5 percent as its underlying sales growth missed analysts' consensus.

Martin argued that while the initial reaction from investors seemed to be negative, it was still too early to get a clear picture of Europe’s third quarter earnings season.

French retailer Carrefour CARR.PA and spirits group Pernod Ricard PERP.PA were up 2.8 percent and 2.1 percent respectively after their results.

But Martin said the situation in Catalonia was likely to set the tone for the day.

Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and John Stonestreet