U.K. Stocks Plunge on Inconclusive Italian Elections

U.K. stocks plunged after Italians failed to award a clear mandate to govern to any of the political parties that contested parliamentary elections, increasing concern about the pace of reforms in the euro area.

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Barclays Plc (BARC) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) all fell more than 2 percent as a gauge of lenders posted the biggest decline on the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Whitbread Plc (WTB) retreated the most in four months after reporting its results.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) tumbled 1.3 percent to 6,272.89 at 8:51 a.m. in London, its biggest drop since Feb. 21. The gauge has still rallied 6.4 percent this year after U.S. politicians agreed to a compromise federal budget. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also slumped 1.3 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index decreased 0.1 percent.

U.K. stocks slid after Pier Luigi Bersani’s party and its allies won 31.63 percent of votes in the Italian Senate, while Silvio Berlusconi and his partners took 30.72 percent. The final figures from the Interior Ministry mean that any new government in the country will have to contend with a deadlocked upper house, potentially frustrating efforts to reform labor markets and reduce spending.

To contact the reporter on this story: Will Hadfield in London at whadfield@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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