Milan, other European markets continue losses

Uncertainty widens Italy's interest-rate spread with Germany

Milan, other European markets continue losses

Milan, March 27 - Investors' concerns over continued political uncertainty widened the spread on Wednesday between Italy's costs of borrowing compared with that of Germany and drove down Milan's main financial market. On the Milan Stock Exchange, the FTSE-Mib fell by 0.92% to close trading at 15,353 points. The spread between Italian and German debt, an indicator of investor confidence in Italy's ability to deal with its ongoing recession, widened to 350 basis points, up from Tuesday's close of 321.6 basis points. The yield on 10-year Italian Treasury bonds jumped to 4.77% at Wednesday's close, from 4.55% on Tuesday. Investors were increasingly nervous over the outlook for the country's political leadership, as it appeared that Pier Luigi Bersani of the Democratic Party (PD) would be unable to form a new government by a Thursday deadline. With no clear leadership in sight, it's hard to read what future economic and fiscal policies will govern Italy. Despite continued rejection of Bersani by the maverick 5-Star Movement (M5S), led by ex-comedian Beppe Grillo, the centre-left leader sounded upbeat late Wednesday afternoon. "The (parties) in parliament are taking their time to reflect," said Bersani, "and tomorrow I expect a conclusive response". Last Friday, Bersani was given a mandate by Italy's president to form a government, after emerging from elections in late February with a majority in the House but not in the Senate, leaving a hung parliament. He has spent the past week meeting with parties in an effort to forge a working coalition. Rumours Wednesday suggested he might be forced to work with ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition - something he has so far refused to do. Meanwhile in other European markets, Frankfurt's DAX fell by 1.15% to reach 7,789.09 points, while Spain's IBEX 35 took another hit on the day, losing 1.13% to close at 7,900 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 fell by 0.99% to close at 3,711.64 points, and London's FTSE 100 ended the trading day just 0.18% lower, closing at 6,387.56.

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