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Shares fall in Europe on Greek political uncertainty

Category: Business

Published: 14th May 2012 10:59:16

European shares have fallen as the continuing political uncertainty in Greece undermines investor confidence.

Greek President Karolos Papoulias failed to form a coalition government through talks on Sunday and will continue discussions with political leaders on Monday evening.

Bank shares are worst hit, particularly in Spain and France, with Madrid's Ibex index down 2.8% and the Cac down 2.3%.

London's 100 share index is down 1.7% and Germany's Dax down 2%.

French banks were among the biggest fallers as investors worried about their exposure to other troubled eurozone countries.

BNP Paribas was 3.4% lower, Societe Generale lost 3.3% and Credit Agricole fell 3.4%.

Spanish banks Banco Santander and Bankia were down 3.4% and 4.4% respectively, as they said they would set aside an extra 2.7bn euros (£2.16bn) and 2.1bn euros to meet new government requirements aimed at cleaning up the country's ailing property market.

Meanwhile, both Spain and Italy carried out successful bond auctions on Monday.

Appetite for Spanish and Italian debt was more than strong enough, but the return demanded by investors in Spain's debt was higher than in previous auctions, reflecting a dip in confidence.

Spain sold 2.9bn euros in short-term debt, paying 2.985%, up from 2.623% last time.

The difference in the rate demanded by Spanish 10-year bond investors over the equivalent German bunds hit 4.83%, its highest level since the creation of the euro.

The yield, or interest rate, on Spain's key 10-year bonds, which are traded on the market, jumped 23 basis points to a record high of 6.22%.

Italy raised 5.25bn euros, paying a yield of 3.91%, almost unchanged on the previous rate of 3.89%.

The undermining factor is again the future of the eurozone.

Greece's lack of a government puts in doubt its ability to stick to austerity measures imposed as part of its financial bailout. Without holding to agreed cuts it will not get the rest of the support funds it needs to function.

Adding to the lack of clarity is the fact that anti-bailout parties did well in the elections.

Anti-austerity feeling may be growing in Germany too after Chancellor Angela Merkel's party suffered a defeat on Sunday in an election in North Rhine-Westphalia, the country's most populous state.

On top of that, new French President Francois Hollande won his place after promising to focus more on growth rather than austerity, raising concerns as to whether he will be able to work as closely with Mrs Merkel as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy did.

The two were the driving force behind the eurozone's fiscal compact.

Later on Monday, eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss the situation in Greece and Spain.

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BBC News, 2012. Shares fall in Europe on Greek political uncertainty [Online] (Updated 14th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1428346/Shares-fall-in-Europe-on-Greek-political-uncertainty [Accessed 29th Jul 2014]

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