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European Shares Subdued On Catalonia Concerns

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European stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as Spain braced for further political upheaval and investors waited for speeches by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, due later in the day for further direction.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.2 percent at 390.11 in late opening deals after rising 0.2 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX was up 0.1 percent as trading resumed after a bank holiday. France's CAC 40 index was declining 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was little changed with a negative bias.

Spanish banks succumbed to selling pressure after King Felipe VI said Catalan authorities deliberately bent the law with "irresponsible conduct" and the state needs to ensure Spain's constitutional order and rule of law.

Banco Sabadell fell over 4 percent, Santander lost 2.8 percent and BBVA tumbled 2.4 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell shares declined 1 percent. The oil & gas company has cancelled the $900m sale of its stake in a Thai gas field to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company.

Oil & gas exploration company Tullow Oil retreated 3.7 percent as oil extended losses near $50 a barrel on signs of higher output.

Retailer Tesco dropped more than 1 percent after posting second-quarter sales below estimates.

ThyssenKrupp shares fell nearly 3 percent. The multinational conglomerate said that workers will be equally represented following the planned merger of its European steel operations with Tata Steel's.

British postal service and courier firm Royal Mail lost 2.2 percent after workers voted in favor of an industrial action.

Standard Life also fell over 2 percent after its chairman reportedly backed the controversial listing of Saudi Aramco in London.

German carmakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen climbed 1-2 percent after unveiling their monthly U.S. sales figures.

In economic releases, the euro area private sector ended the third quarter strongly as output growth accelerated to a four-month high, underpinned by new orders in September, final data from IHS Markit showed.

The composite output index rose to 56.7 from 55.7 a month ago, matching the preliminary estimate. The final services PMI climbed to 55.8 from 54.7 in the previous month.

Eurozone retail sales fell for the second straight month in August, while activity in the U.K.'s services sector expanded at a faster rate than expected in September.

by RTT Staff Writer

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