Chaos in Spain; EU summit; China GDP

1. Chaos in Spain: Another major dose of political uncertainty has unnerved investors in Spain.

The central government in Madrid said Thursday that it will move to impose direct rule on the wealthy region of Catalonia, which has been considering whether to declare independence.

It’s the latest in a series of confrontations to result from a controversial independence referendum held earlier this month in the restive region.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says he will formally break with Spain if the central government refuses to engage in talks.

The benchmark Spanish stock index was roughly 1% lower. The euro was volatile.

2. Brexit crunch time: European Union leaders are expected to discuss Iran, North Korea and Brexit at a summit in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will try to push for progress in Brexit negotiations. The talks have deadlocked and the clock is ticking — the U.K. is set to leave the EU in March 2019.

Businesses and economists have warned that crashing out of the bloc would have grave consequences for Britain’s economy.

3. China slows: The world’s second largest economy grew 6.8% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2016, according to official data.

That is slightly lower growth than the 6.9% it posted in the first two quarters of 2017.

China’s target for annual economic growth this year is 6.5% or higher, so the country is comfortably on track to meet that.

4. Global market overview: U.S. stock futures were lower.

European markets opened in negative territory, while Asian markets ended their session mixed.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 23,000 for the first time on Wednesday, gaining 0.7%.

The S&P 500 added 0.1% and the Nasdaq was flat.

5. Stock market movers: Adobe shares were higher in extended trading as investors cheered the company’s optimistic outlook.

eBay shares were pointed lower after issuing an outlook that failed to meet expectations.

Nestle shares, which trade in Switzerland, were lower after the company reported its quarterly earnings.

6. Earnings: Blackstone, Philip Morris and Verizon will release earnings before the open, while Del Taco, E*TRADE and PayPal will follow after the closing bell.

7. Coming this week:

Thursday — 30th anniversary of Black Monday; Deadline for pitches for Amazon HQ2 location
Friday — Earnings from General Electric and Procter & Gamble.

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