Italian stocks down amid political uncertainty after Berlusconi asks ministers to resign

ROME – Investors are reacting with concern over the increasing precariousness of Italy’s coalition government.

Milan’s stock exchange was down 1.6 per cent at 17,368.52 on Monday, the first day of trading since Silvio Berlusconi demanded that his five ministers quit Premier Enrico Letta’s government. Italy’s 10-year government bond yield — a measure of investor wariness — was up 0.08 percentage points at 4.50 per cent.

Berlusconi had demanded the resignations in a show of solidarity ahead of a Senate vote to strip him of his seat because of his tax-fraud conviction. But at least three ministers said they would only reluctantly comply in a rare challenge to Berlusconi’s leadership.

Letta has called a confidence vote in Parliament this week to determine if his 5-month-old government can survive.

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