Italy’s Stock Market Halted for Techno Glitch – Italy’s Bourse Reopens, Index Falls, Libya Exposure Weighs

Whoa! What a coincidence!

Libya: Oil Companies Plan Evacuations

Things are different now for Gadhafi and Berlusconi. Notice the masonic handshake!

Italy’s Stock Market Halted for Techno Glitch (Wall Street Journal):

The European country considered most exposed to the unrest in Libya is its former colonial ruler, Italy. And investors wanting to do something about that today have limited options: the Italian Bourse is closed due to technical problems. It is expected to reopen at 9:30 ET.

On Monday, the FTSE Mib Index fell 3.6%, the worst among European markets. Today, the Stoxx Europe 600 is down 0.6%. The France CAC-40 is off 1.1%, the worst performer of the major European markets.

While trades aren’t taking place in Milan, other markets show Italian weakness continuing today. ENI, the big Italian energy firm, is indicated sharply lower in New York, though a good chunk of that will be catching up for Monday’s trading.

Italy’s credit-default swaps edged higher and the spread between Italian 10-year bonds and comparable German bunds widened 0.75 percentage point, among the biggest moves in Europe.

In a quasi-related news item, the Italian government said it had 90 days of oil reserves and 30 days of gas reserves, according to Reuters.

–  Italy’s Bourse Reopens, Index Falls, Libya Exposure Weighs (Wall Street Journal):

ROME (Dow Jones)–Trading in Italian stocks resumed late Tuesday after a day-long glitch, and rapidly fell.

At 1437 GMT, the FTSE-Mib index was down 1.9% at 21810.

Big losers were Impregilo SpA (IPG.MI), Eni SpA (E) and UniCredit SpA (UCG.MI), all of which have exposure to Libya and posted sharp drops Monday.

The Milan bourse, part of the London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LSE.LN), had to suspend trading all day until 1430 GMT due to unspecified “technical issues.”

About EUR4 billion changes hands on a typical day at the Italian stock exchange.

Adusbef, a local consumer-rights lobby, said it found the suspension “suspicious,” especially as Borsa Italiana didn’t provide details on the problems it had experienced.

The suspension is unusally timed given the conflict in Libya, where Italian businesses have strong business exposure and, in some cases, shareholder bases, Adusbef said.

The FTSE-Mib posted its biggest drop in more than half a year on Monday, sinking 3.6%, with both Eni and UniCredit posting sharp losses.

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