European markets down amid Greek crisis talks

Italian spread widens to 420

European markets down amid Greek crisis talks

(ANSA) - Rome, August 22 - The spread between Italian 10-year-bonds and the benchmark German bund inched up and markets were down across Europe Wednesday as investors grew nervous ahead of a series of meetings this week over the eurozone debt crisis. Statements earlier Wednesday by key figures in the crisis, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, seemed to indicate that Greek efforts at improved aid terms were thin. Greek Premier Antonis Samaras met with Juncker late Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to meet with Merkel on Friday. On Saturday the Greek leader is meeting with French President François Hollande. At issue is whether Greece has done enough to receive its next tranche of bailout money, without which the country would basically be forced into a default. Samaras would like more time to implement austerity measures. The spread between Italian 10-year debt and German bunds, a barometer of Italy's borrowing costs in the eurozone crisis, reached 420 basis points, up from 406.1 basis points at the open of trade. All the main European stock markets ended the day in the red. London's Ftse-100 index lost 1.42% to close at 5,774.20 points. Frankfurt was down 1.01% finishing at 7,017.75 points. The Paris Cac 40 index was down 1.47% to close at 3,461.65. Italy's main stock index, the FTSE-Mib, finished the day down 1.1% at 15,161. Madrid's bourse was down 2.7% to close at 7,340.70.

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