Europe Markets: Spanish stocks pull back after rally, as other European markets struggle for direction

Spanish stocks edged lower Thursday, catching their breath after the prior day’s rally that was sparked by worries abating over Catalonia’s independence push, while Europe’s main equity benchmark struggled for direction.

What stocks are doing: Spain’s IBEX 35 index IBEX, -0.17%  fell 0.1% to 10,270.70, erasing a bit of Wednesday’s 1.3% gain. That advance came after Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday suspended the independence process for the region, though Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded by suggesting that he’s edging toward suspending Catalonia’s autonomy.

The Spanish benchmark is up about 0.8% for the week, but down 1.1% for October.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -0.02%  was less than 0.1% lower to 390.04.

What strategists are saying: The Spanish government’s response has been “a little tougher than anticipated,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note Thursday. Rajoy may want to signal “that Madrid has the ultimate power,” Aslam added.

Other key indexes: Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, -0.06%  edged down 0.1% to 12,963.34, while France’s CAC 40 index PX1, -0.19%  fell 0.2% to 5,351.66.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.01%  inched up less than 0.1% to 7,536.92.

Economic data: A reading on the eurozone’s industrial production is expected at 10 a.m. London time, or 5 a.m. Eastern Time.

Stock movers: Shares in Just Eat PLC JE., +5.05%  rose 6.5% for the Stoxx Europe 600’s biggest gain after the food-delivery service scored a regulatory OK for its planned buyout of rival Hungryhouse.

Shares in Deutsche Lufthansa AG LHA, +2.68%  added 2.7% after Bernstein analysts raised their rating for the Germany airline to “outperform” from “market perform,” saying “positive catalysts are mounting.” Encouraging developments include market consolidation in Germany and a deal with pilots that should reduce pension risks, the analysts wrote in a note.

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