Milan stock exchange slides amid continued uncertainty

FTSE Mib index falls 0.85%

Milan stock exchange slides amid continued uncertainty

Milan, March 4 - Political uncertainty in Italy continued to haunt the country's major financial market Monday, causing further losses among investors. The Milan Stock Exchange's benchmark FTSE Mib index lost 0.85% in trading to end the day at 15,542 points. Most other European markets were also sluggish on the day, but Milan took the greatest hit as investors continue to fret after last week's Italian general election failed to produce a winner. With no clear leadership in sight, it is hard to read what future economic and fiscal policies will govern Italy. Meanwhile, the spread between Italian and German 10-year bonds, an indicator of investor confidence in Italian government paper, reached 346 basis points at close of trading Monday, slightly higher than last Friday's closing of 340. This was caused by the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds climbing to 4.88%, up from Friday's close of 4.79%. Italian banks continued to suffer losses as increases in borrowing costs hit their bottom lines very quickly and directly. Intesa Sanpaolo lost 3.22% on Monday's trading while Unicredit fell by 2.51% and the troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena lost 3.25%. Most other European equity markets also began the week with losses. Frankfurt's DAX slipped by 0.21% to drop to 7,691.68 points, while Paris's CAC 40 fell by 0.27% to close at 3,709.76 points, and London's FTSE 100 ended the trading day 0.52% lower, closing at 6,345.63. Only Spain's IBEX 35 closed trading on a positive note, ending the day 0.72% higher at 8,246.30 points.

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