Financial markets lower, spreads widen

Italy not planning to use 'spread shield'

Financial markets lower, spreads widen

(ANSA) - Rome, July 16 - Financial markets were hit by bad news about the world's economic outlook Monday, driving down equities and widening the spread on Italian bonds. In Milan, the FTSE Mib lost 0.36% to close trading at 13,664 points. The FTSE All-share gained 0.21%. Bonds were also hit hard. The spread between Italy's 10-year BTP bonds and their German Bund equivalents closed at 488 basis points, having peaked at 495 points. The 10-year yield, an important indicator of investor confidence in Italy's ability to weather the euro crisis, rose to 6.10%. Earlier in the day, the spread stood at 479 basis points, with a yield of 6.03%. Nevertheless, sources in the government of Premier Mario Monti said it's too early to consider seeking help from European rescue funds. Monti recently refused to rule out using EU rescue funds, but stressed that would only be done to support its bonds in the case of soaring borrowing costs. Market players were thrown into a turmoil after the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth, while warning that Europe has not done enough to deal with its debt and economic crisis. The IMF maintained its 2012 forecast of 3.5% economic growth globally, but reduced its forecast for 2013 growth to 3.9%, down from the estimate of 4.1% made in April. In terms of Italy's outlook, the IMF predicts Italy's gross national product (GDP) will contract by 1.9% in 2012. That confirmations predictions from such influential, if pessimistic, sources as economist Nouriel Roubini, who told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Italy's GDP would shrink by 2.2% this year. Markets were also disappointed by the announcement that Germany's highest court will wait almost eight more weeks before ruling on whether to block a permanent bail-out fund for the European Union. In Paris, the CAC closed trading almost unchanged, down 0.03% to 3179.90 points. London closed down 0.16%, Frankfurt was down 0.02%, and Madrid lost 2.24%, but Amsterdam rose 0.35%, Stockholm gained 0.62% and Zurich was up 0.10%.

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