Rome

European markets hold their ground, Italy's spread at 481

Paris, Frankfurt bourse up

European markets hold their ground, Italy's spread at 481

(ANSA) - Rome, July 17 - European stock markets almost all held their ground Tuesday, despite comments by United States Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to the Senate banking committee casting doubt on the continent's prospects. The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 index edged ever so slightly upward, while the Madrid borse leaped 1.37% on news that Spanish bonds were fully subscribed. Paris and Frankfurt rose more than half a percent. The only markets to fall in Europe were London, down -0.26%, and Milan, down -0.14%. In Milan, banks were the big losers, with BPM and MPS ceding more than 2%, and Mediobanca dropping nearly 2%. After falling just under 480 points during the day, the spread between Italian and German bonds closed at 481 basis points with a yield on Italian ten-year bonds at 6.01% Tuesday. The Bank of Italy said Tuesday that Italy's GDP would contract 2% in 2012, and 0.2% in 2013, assuming the spread averaged 450 points. Spanish bonds closed Tuesday with a 550 point difference from the German benchmark, with 10-year Spanish bonds yielding 6.71%.

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