Italian Stocks Drop; Azimut, Buzzi, Geox, Intesa, Saipem, UniCredit Move

Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 701.55, or 3.5 percent, to 19,612.66, ending a two-day gain. The following stocks were among the most active on the Italian market today.

Azimut Holding SpA (AZM IM), Italy’s largest independent fund manager, dropped 40 cents, or 5.3 percent, to 7.17 euros as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erased yesterday’s gain after Germany’s ban on some bets against government bonds and financial institutions sparked investor concern that regulation will increase.

Banca Generali SpA (BGN IM), the asset-management arm of Assicurazioni Generali SpA, slid 4.1 percent to 7.2 euros.

Buzzi Unicem SpA (BZU IM) and Italcementi SpA (IT IM), Italy’s biggest cement makers, declined 4.6 percent to 9.65 euros and 4 percent to 7.08 euros as stocks sensitive to economic growth like basic resources companies, automobile and construction companies were the worst performers in Europe today.

“The German decision to ban short selling on euro government bonds and shares of 10 banks and insurers will support demand for bonds as investors turn more pessimist on how serious the crisis is,” UniCredit Research wrote in a note.

Shares of Italian carmaker Fiat SpA (F IM) sank 26 cents, or 2.9 percent, to 8.63 euros. Exor SpA (EXO IM), Fiat’s main shareholder, retreated 46 cents, or 3.4 percent, to 12.9 euros.

Eni SpA (ENI IM), Italy’s biggest oil company, fell 49 cents, or 2.9 percent, to 15.73 euros as crude oil for June delivery touched $67.90, the lowest intraday price since Sept. 30. Saipem SpA (SPM IM), Europe’s biggest provider of oilfield services by market value, declined 1.60 euros, or 5.9 percent, to 25.66 euros. Shares of refiner Saras SpA (SRS IM) slid 5.1 cents, or 3 percent, to 1.65 euros. Tenaris SA (TEN IM), the world’s largest supplier of seamless steel pipes, lost 55 cents, or 3.6 percent, to 14.90 euros.

Geox SpA (GEO IM) dropped 24 cents, or 5.8 percent, to 3.92 euros, the lowest since November 2008. The shoemaker said in a statement after the closing of the market yesterday that first- half sales will decline at a rate similar to the first quarter. “Consensus estimates for the first half are at about minus 11 percent, so still a couple of points above the company’s current indications,” Fidentiis Equities SV SA said in a note today.

Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP IM) and UniCredit SpA (UCG IM), Italy’s biggest banks, retreated 4.8 percent to 2.15 euros and 6 percent to 1.76 euros. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a note that “for bank investors there is a risk that yesterday’s actions from Germany increase the perceived risk in Euroland and bank funding costs reverse what had been a very positive 12 month tightening trend.”

WestLB AG downgraded Intesa to “reduce” from “neutral.”

Telecom Italia SpA (TIT IM) sank 2.8 cents, or 2.8 percent, to 99 cents. Italy’s antitrust authority opened a probe into Telecom Italia for possible abuse of a dominant position in fixed-line phone and Internet services contract bidding for business and public administration clients. The regulator said it opened the probe after a complaint by FastWeb SpA. Telecom Italia said in a statement that it’s acted correctly.

Unione di Banche Italiane SCPA (UBI IM) lost 21.5 cents, or 2.8 percent, to 7.61 euros, paring yesterday’s gains. Exane BNP Paribas lowered its price estimate to 9.2 euros from 11 euros and reiterated a “neutral” recommendation.

To contact the reporter: Francesca Cinelli in Milan at fcinelli@bloomberg.net.

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