Italian bourse shut down after spooked investors sell off stocks

THE Italian bourse was brought down yesterday following frenzied sales of stocks by investors spooked by its heavy exposure to Libya.

Trading in stocks, bonds, warrants and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) had been suspended from the start of the day until 2.30pm.

Borsa Italiana, a unit of the London Stock Exchange, said the cause of the total shutdown was not known but market participants pointed out that it followed a sharp spike in volumes on Monday.

Lobby groups have called the closure “suspicious” and called for more information on the technical problems. Italian market regulator Consob demanded an explanation for the embarrassing halt, the longest in at least seven years.

Italy has massive exposure to Libya, especially through its mining operations in the country.