* Italian bonds, shares seen falling on political gridlock
* Vote for upper house deadlocked
* "Worst possible outcome for markets" - analyst
By Silvia Aloisi
MILAN, Feb 26 Italian bonds and shares were set
to fall on Tuesday as a messy election result fuelled fears of a
hung parliament and an ungovernable country.
A huge protest vote on Monday by Italians enraged by
economic hardship and political corruption pushed the country
towards deadlock, with no coalition likely to be strong enough
to form a government.
Italy's centre-left said it had won the lower house but no
party or coalition appeared to be in a position to take a
majority in the upper house or Senate.
A grid locked parliament will dismay investors hoping for
strong leadership to lead the eurozone's third largest economy
through a deep recession, rising unemployment and a massive
"This is the worst possible outcome from the market's point
of view, and I can't see how BTP bond prices can avoid losing
ground," said Alessandro Tentori, Citi head of global rates.
"It seems inevitable that there will be a new election. What
worries me most is the success of Beppe Grillo and the high
abstention rate - basically half of the country is sick of the
old political system and change will only come painfully."
Comedian Grillo's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement was the
big surprise of the election, winning around 25 percent of the
vote thanks to the disdain many Italians feel for established
Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti said all parties had a
responsibility to ensure a government could be formed.
FEARS SPREAD AROUND GLOBE
Fears of a political stalemate that could re-ignite the euro
zone debt crisis resonated well beyond Italy's borders, with the
euro falling to a more than six-week low against the dollar in
volatile trade late on Monday.
Italian markets had a rollercoaster ride on Monday, with
bonds rising and shares soaring after initial telephone polls
showed the country's reform-minded centre-left coalition with a
Subsequent projections showed a stronger than expected
performance by the centre-right, led by former prime minister
Silvio Berlusconi, raising the spectre of parliamentary
The blue-chip index closed up 0.7 percent, having
been four percent higher at one point.
Italy faces crucial bond sales this week.
It will sell 8.75 billion euros of six-month bills on
Tuesday. On the grey market on Monday evening, those bills
traded with a yield of 0.85 percent, up from a 0.73 percent rate
at a similar sale one month ago.
More important for debt markets is the test on Wednesday,
when the Treasury will offer between 3 billion and 4 billion
euros of a new 10-year bond and between 1.75 and 2.5 billion
euros of five-year paper.
"The Italian/German yield spread could rise to 320-330 basis
points and towards 350 bps on Wednesday. The 10-year bond will
likely see a bigger rise in yield at Wednesday's auction," said
Raj Badiani, economist at IHS Global Insight.
"I expect that in the next 2-3 months we will see a bumpy
political ride," he said. The premium investors demand to hold
10-year Italian government bonds over equivalent German Bunds
stood at 283 basis points at the market close on Monday.
Shares are also expected to take a hit, with traders noting
volumes on the stock market futures were very heavy on Monday.
"If the results confirm the trend we have seen, we find
ourselves in a situation where the country is ungovernable.
There is huge uncertainty, even if you think there'll be another
election in June," said a Milan bourse trader.