(ANSA) - Milan, January 29 - European stock markets ended
Tuesday generally flat, weighed down by negative bank-sector
news and a drop in US consumer confidence, even as surveys in
Germany and France pointed to improving sentiment.
In Milan, the financials-heavy FTSE MIB ended the day
slightly -0.03% at 17,891.91.
Shares in troubled lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which
had been on a rollercoaster recently following reports the bank
would be hit with massive derivatives losses and news
prosecutors are investigating management's handling of the
takeover of Antonveneta, ended the day up 2%.
Italian television group Mediaset, owned by former premier
Silvio Berlusconi, also gained 2%, on the back of a report by
Exane BNP Paribase, which raised its target price on the stock
and confirmed its "neutral" stance.
In London, the FTSE 100 edged up 0.7% to 6339.19, while
Paris' CAC 40 and Frankfurt's DAX both closed essentially flat,
at 3785.82 and 7848.57, respectively.
Spain's IBEX 35 was the only other loser among the main
markets, closing slightly lower, at 8643, following reports of
poor December retail sales, which stoked investor fear that the
country's recession is deepening.
Meanwhile, the spread between Italian 10-year government
debt and its German equivalent edged slightly lower Tuesday,
closing at 248 basis points, compared with its Monday close of
252 basis points.
The Italian treasury sold 8.5 billion of six-month Treasury
bills at an auction, paying lower yields compared with the