Milan stock exchange sheds over 3%

Market hit after data dashes hopes of eurozone recovery

Milan stock exchange sheds over 3%

Milan, February 21 - The Milan stock exchange's benchmark FTSE Mib index dropped 3.12% in early trading Thursday after shares in several Italian banks and ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset company suffered big losses. Mediaset was 4.62% down after almost three hours of trading, Unicredit shed 4.16%, Bpm lost 4,63%, Intesa Sanpaolo was 3,85% down, Banco Popolare dropped 3,27% and Mediobanca fell by 3,59%. The big falls came after hopes that the eurozone might be on the road to recovery suffered a setback when the area's purchasing managers' index (PMI), based on surveys of business activity, suffered a surprise drop. The preliminary eurozone PMI for services and manufacturing for February fell to a two-month low of 47.3, compared to 48.6 in January. Some economists had hoped the index might go up. A reading of less than 50 signals a contraction in business activity.

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