European markets close mixed as investors wait for fed moves

Milan shares down 0.45% as investors sell bank shares

European markets close mixed as investors wait for fed moves

Milan, May 21 - European markets ended Tuesday mixed as investors, who recently pushed shares to multi-year highs, waited cautiously for news on the US Federal Reserve's position regarding when it will start to reign in a policy called quantitative easing which has flooded markets with liquidity. Investors were more bullish in northern Europe Tuesday than in the southern part of the recession-stricken continent, with London's FTSE 100 leading the gainers after closing up 0.71% at 6,803.87. France's CAC 40 ended trading up 0.33%, at 4,036.18, followed by Germany's DAX, up 0.19% at 8,472.2. Meanwhile, Italian and Spanish equities ended the day lower. Milan's FTSE-Mib shed 0.45%, at 17,427.47, while Madrid's IBEX 35 lost 0.6%, closing at 8,464.5. Milan shares were in part hit by dividend payouts on Monday. Bank shares on the financials-heavy Milan exchange mostly shed ground Tuesday, with Banco Popolare losing 2.9%, UBI Banca down 2.27%, Intesa Sanpaolo down 2.26% and Unicredit shedding 1.61%. Intesa was hit in particular by a downgrade in its shares by ICBPI, which lowered its target price on the bank's shares to 1.4 euros, just under the bank's Tuesday closing price. Other losers included energy shares Enel, down 1.22%, Eni, down 0.87%, and Snam, down 0.92%, while Saipem gained just over 4% after it announced it had already overtaken an important orders benchmark for 2013. Publishing company RCS, which owns leading daily Il Corriere della Sera, among a host of other titles, closed up 13.38% on reports it was finalizing a 600-million-euro refinancing deal with creditor banks which would help it avoid possible bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Italy's bonds took a slight hit Tuesday as the spread between the country's 10-year paper and its German equivalent, a barometer of investor confidence in Italy's ability to whether the euro crisis, widened to beyond 255 basis points before ending the day at Monday's 253 basis-points level.

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