Spanish markets gain as case for Catalan independence unclear after vote
(Updates prices, adds new comments)
By Marius Zaharia and Paul Day
LONDON/MADRID, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Spanish financial markets rallied on Monday after regional elections in Catalonia, welcoming a result that, while giving secessionists a parliamentary majority, appeared not to have advanced a broader case for independence from Spain.
Stock and bond investors have been concerned that a breakaway movement gathering pace in the region could cause political and financial instability in the euro zone's fourth largest economy.
Secessionist parties won 72 of the 135 seats on Sunday in the legislature of Spain's wealthiest region, prompting the acting head of the regional government, Artur Mas, to claim the result as a "yes" for independence. He is expected to push ahead with his campaign.
The same parties won only 47.8 percent of the vote, and analysts suggested that statistic had removed any immediate risk of a breakaway which, in view of constitutional hurdles and steadfast opposition from central government in Madrid, remains purely hypothetical.
The result, in a record turnout of 78 percent, was however likely to strengthen the hand of the regional government in negotiations with Madrid over devolutionary concessions, they said.
"What came out from the local elections is that there is a majority for independence parties, but at the same time they did not reach an absolute majority," BNP Paribas rate strategist Patrick Jacq said.
"If there is a referendum for independence, it's not clear that "yes" would win. There is no signal that Catalonia wants to be independent." Continuación...