Italian bond spread with Germany little changed at 303

Milan shows small gains, other European markets stall

Italian bond spread with Germany little changed at 303

Milan, April 18 - Financial markets across Europe, including Italy's main index, showed little movement Thursday. On the Milan Stock Exchange, the FTSE Mib rose by a mere 0.63% to close trading at 15,480 points. Investors in Italian equities and bonds seemed to be watching and waiting for progress in the election of the country's next president as voting began Thursday. Some seemed to feel confidence in the Italian economy after a successful bond sale earlier in the week. That helped to narrow the spread between Italian and German debt. The spread held at 303 basis points at close of trading Thursday, essentially unchanged from the previous day's closing spread of 302 basis points. The yield on ten-year Treasury bonds closed at 4.25% Thursday. The spread between lending rates in the two countries is seen as an indication of investor faith in the Italian economy and its ability to cope with a lingering recession. Investors in other European markets seemed to also be cautious, absorbing economic warnings from the International Monetary Fund stressed the fragility of the global economy. It suggested this week that the world economy will grow by three speeds: fastest in emerging markets, moderate to slow in North America, and will actually take losses in the euro area. Uncertainty kept traders treading water in some European markets. Frankfurt's DAX slid by 0.39% to reach 7,473.73 points, while both Paris's CAC 40 was essentially unchanged, at 3,599.23 points, and London's FTSE 100 also closed very near the previous day's levels, at 6,243.67 points. Spain's IBEX 35 also held steady, rising by just 0.12% to close at 7,812.50 points.

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