Milan

Italian, European markets close on negative note

Milan closes last day of tough week down 1.54%

Italian, European markets close on negative note

Milan, March 1 - Milan's major stock index, the FTSE-Mib, shed 1.54% during trading to close at 15,675 points on Friday, ending a difficult week for Italy's financial market. Friday's fall undermined small gains made the previous day following sharp losses due to political uncertainty as a result of inconclusive general elections earlier in the week. Private television network Mediaset owned by ex-premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi fared particularly badly, falling just over 8% to 1.56 euros per share amid market speculation that the media magnate's People of Freedom (PdL) party might be excluded from a future government. Meanwhile, the yield spread between Italian 10-year bonds and their benchmark German equivalent closed just under 340 basis points, well above the 327 points registered at the close of Thursday trading. The bond spread is a key indicator of investor confidence in Italy's ability to service its considerable public debt. The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds also increased slightly to close at 4.79%, up from 4.73% the day before. Other European equity markets also closed on a negative note due to the production slowdown in China and the UK and record unemployment levels for January in eurozone countries. Frankfurt's DAX lost 0.43% to reach 7,708.16 points, while Paris's CAC 40 fell by 0.62% to close at 3,699.91 points, Madrid's IBEX 35 dropped 0.52% to settle at 8,187.10 points and Athens lost 1.74% to close at 990.42 points. Only London's FTSE 100 bucked the negative trend, ending the trading day 0.28% higher to close at 6,378.6 points.

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