Spain's stock market tumbled 3.6 percent Monday after an election left the eurozone's fourth-largest economy in political limbo, while US stocks rallied to snap a two-session losing streak.
Spain faces a struggle to form a stable government following weekend elections that saw the incumbent conservatives score a win but not gain a majority, tailed by the long-established Socialists and upstart, far-left Podemos.
"The inconclusive outcome of Spain's general election increases the related risks of prolonged political uncertainty, and potentially a looser fiscal policy stance and/or a reversal of structural reforms," Fitch ratings agency said in a statement.
The polls cap a year of electoral change in southern Europe after Syriza swept to power in Greece in January and a coalition of leftist parties in Portugal pooled their votes in parliament to unseat the conservative government after an inconclusive election in October.
CMC Markets UK analyst Jasper Lawler said the vote was another sign of anti-establishment feeling in Europe brought on by discontent with austerity policies, and that the experience of Portugal showed that the emergence of a Socialist government in Spain would likely lead to a temporary jump in the government's borrowing costs.
Other European indices fell into the red at the latest retreat in oil prices. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February finished at a fresh 11-year low.
Paris ended the day down 1.3 percent and Frankfurt 1.0 percent. London dipped 0.3 percent.
- US stocks gain -
In the US, the broad-based S&P 500 managed a 0.8 percent gain despite the grim outlook for oil.
"It's the first day the market is rising despite lower oil prices," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
"Maybe there is a growing sense that the equity market is not tied as closely to oil as it has been the last couple of weeks."
Analysts said a 3.3 percent drop in the S&P 500 on Thursday and Friday also positioned the market for gains due to bargain-hunting.
Most Asian markets rose on Monday, although Tokyo gave up 0.4 percent after Toshiba's stocks took a battering of nearly 10 percent following a weekend report in the leading Nikkei business daily that it would likely record a fiscal year net loss of about $4 billion.
In a statement after the markets closed Monday, Toshiba said it would post a record 550 billion yen ($4.5 billion) annual loss.
The 140-year-old company was this year hit by revelations that executives systematically pressured underlings to inflate profits in a years-long scheme to hide poor results.
Apple rose 1.2 percent as it reached an agreement with Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson to settle several patent disputes. Terms were not disclosed. US-traded shares of Ericsson climbed 4.2 percent.
Disney fell 1.1 percent despite reporting that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" generated an estimated $238 million in US and Canadian box office sales, shattering the previous opening-weekend record by about $30 million.
- Key figures around 2200 GMT -
New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 17,251.62 (close)
New York - S&P 500: UP 0.8 percent at 2,021.15 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 4,968.92 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,034.84 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.0 percent at 10,497.77 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.3 percent at 4,565.17 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.5 percent at 3,213.01 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 percent at 18,916.02 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP to $1.0915 from $1.0870 late Friday
Dollar/yen: DOWN to 121.21 yen from 121.26 yen