Milan shows small gains following successful bond auction

Spread down between Italian, German paper

Milan shows small gains following successful bond auction

Milan, February 13 - Italy's major stock market led a minor European rally Wednesday, buoyed by a successful Treasury-bond auction. On the Milan Stock Exchange, the FTSE Mib gained 0.41% in trading, to end the day at 16,712 points. The Italian bond spread with the German benchmark also eased following a relatively successful bond auction by the Italian Treasury. The spread, an important gauge of investor confidence in the Italian economy, slid during the day to close at 272 basis points, with a yield of 4.40% on 10-year paper. At auction, the Italian treasury sold 3.449 billion euros' worth of three-year bonds at an interest rate of 2.3%, up from 1.85% last January. But the yield on longer term bond offerings was lower, suggesting more faith in Italy's longer-term prospects. Italian 15-year bonds sold at an average yield of 4.55%, down from a 4.75% rate at last issue in December. The Italian Treasury also sold 30-year bonds for the first time since May 2011, auctioning 888 million euros with an average yield of 5.07%, down from 5.43% in May 2011. Still, analysts said that despite the successful auction, investors remain very nervous about the outcome of the Italian election February 24 and 25. They're especially spooked by the possibility that a government by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi would undo many of the financial and economic reforms put in place by technocrat Premier Mario Monti. In other European markets, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.67% to reach 7,711.89 points, while London's FTSE 100 climbed by 0.33% to close at 6,359.11 points, Paris's CAC 40 ended the day slightly higher, gaining 0.32% to close at 3,698.53 points, and Spain's IBEX 35 closed trading 0.87% higher at 8,306.20 points.

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