Confident investors boost Italy's equity, bond markets

Good news from ECB, U.S. drive gains

Confident investors boost Italy's equity, bond markets

(ANSA) - Rome, July 27 - Encouraged by good news from the European Central Bank and a better-than-expected American economic report, investors gave strong support to Italian financial markets Friday. Indeed, all of Europe's equity markets closed higher, with Milan's FTSE MIB among the strongest, rising 2.93% to close at 13,596.88 points while the FTSE Italia All-Share gained 2.15% to reach 14,555. The bond markets were swept up in the same tide of optimism. The spread between 10-year Italian bonds and the benchmark German bund dropped sharply in early trading on Friday hitting 450.6 points with a yield of 5.87%. However, it began to climb during the day, reaching 480 points before closing the week back down at 455 points with a yield of 5.95%. Earlier in the week, jittery markets drove up the spread between Italian bonds and the German benchmark to 537 points, a level not seen since last November, when Italy's ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi was driven from office. It dropped dramatically on Thursday to close at 473 points after ECB President Mario Draghi said the agency would do everything in its power to save the euro. That comment continued to buoy markets, which were further encouraged when second-quarter GDP numbers from the United States came in slightly stronger than forecasters had expected. Annual growth in GDP in the US slowed to 1.5% between April through June, a significant drop from the 2.0% growth reported in the first three months of this year, the Commerce Department said Friday. Still, the figure beat analysts' forecasts for an even slower growth rate of a mere 1.3% in Q2. Slower consumption and higher imports as well as a drop in government spending all contributed to the slower growth rate in the US in the second quarter. Any good news was seized on by investors who boosted Paris's main stock index by 2.3% to 3,280 points on Friday; Madrid's benchmark jumped by 3.7% to 6,617 points; Frankfurt's DAX gained 1.62% on the day to close at 6,689.4 points; and London's FTSE 100 closed up 1% at 5,627 points.

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