October 3, 2017 / 7:34 AM / a year ago

European shares stay near highs as Spanish sell-off eases

MILAN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - European shares hovered around 3-month highs in early deals on Tuesday as a sell-off in Spanish stocks eased and financials gained following another record-breaking session at Wall Street.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.1 percent by 0714 GMT, while Madrid’s blue chip IBEX also gained 0.1 percent, recovering from a 1.2 percent fall on Monday as Madrid seeks ways to respond to Catalonia secessionist crisis.

Catalonia-based banks Sabadell and Caixa also inched up, having been severely hit by worries surrounding Spain’s worst constitutional crisis in decades.

But Spanish utility Iberdrola fell 1.1 percent after JP Morgan downgraded the stock to neutral saying political uncertainty added to a list of headwinds.

Financials and materials stocks provided the biggest boost to the STOXX, offsetting weaker consumer and healthcare stocks.

Top gainer on the pan-European benchmark was Ferguson , up 3 percent after the company reported a rise in trading profit and announced a share buy back plan.

While Germany was closed for holiday, UK’s FTSE was down 0.1 percent led lower by a fall of more than 2 percent in Bae Systems following a downgrade to hold at Berernberg. (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Julien Ponthus)

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