Equity markets in Spain and Greece fell, while European stocks were little changed as holidays across the region curbed trading volume.
The IBEX 35 Index dropped 1.5 percent as local Spanish elections showed support for parties seeking to overturn the political establishment. Greece’s ASE Index lost 2.3 percent as the country asked its creditors to compromise on demands that are holding up bailout funds.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 407.21 at 9:28 a.m. in London, with the volume of shares changing hands 75 percent lower than the 30-day average. Equity markets in the U.K., Germany and Switzerland are among those closed for a holiday.
Banco Santander SA, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and Iberdrola SA were among the stocks contributing the most to the move in the Stoxx 600, falling more than 1.8 percent.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years. Anti-austerity party Podemos claimed its biggest victory in Barcelona. In Madrid, the PP edged it out by less than 50,000 votes in the race for city hall and could still be ousted if Podemos can reach a deal with the Socialists.
Greece’s Piraeus Bank SA, Attica Bank and Alpha Bank AE dropped more than 4.5 percent. The ASE is falling after reaching its highest level since March last week as the deadline for payments to the International Monetary Fund approaches.
Italy’s FTSE MIB Index dropped 2.1 percent, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV down 3.3 percent. Its chief executive officer e-mailed General Motors Co.’s CEO to start talks on a potential merger, but the board rejected a meeting request, the New York Times reported.
France’s CAC 40 Index declined 0.8 percent, led by a decline in Alcatel-Lucent SA. BNP Paribas SA fell 1.7 percent.
The Stoxx 600 advanced the most since mid-April last week, reaching a three-week high on Thursday, as European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said the ECB will increase bond buying in May and June.