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  • Mon, Dec. 5, 7:55 AM
    • A "sell the rumor, buy the news rally" has been snuffed out in Italian banks, with Unicredit (OTCPK:UNCFFdown 5.6% and currently halted.
    • Intesa Sanpaolo (OTCPK:IITSF) -3%
    • Mediabanca (OTC:MDIBF-3.9%
    • Banco Popolare (OTCPK:BPESY-7%
    • The FTSE MIB Index is down 1%, while the rest of Europe is in the green.
    • EWI -2.1% premarket
    | Mon, Dec. 5, 7:55 AM
  • Mon, Dec. 5, 6:00 AM
    • Shares in Italian banks have surprisingly rallied from opening losses despite severe pressure from an enormous surfeit of bad loans and a desperate need to recapitalize.
    • The Bank of Italy estimates there is €360B worth of impaired loans in the banking system.
    • Perhaps this is on expectations that the ECB will now definitely announce a six month extension of its bond buying program on Thursday.
    • Related tickers: OTCPK:UNCFF, OTCPK:IITSF, OTCPK:IITOF, OTC:MDIBF, OTCPK:ISNPY, OTCPK:BPESY, OTC:UNCFY, OTCPK:MDIBY, OTCPK:BPESF
    | Mon, Dec. 5, 6:00 AM
  • Sun, Dec. 4, 4:00 AM
    • Italians are heading to the polls for a referendum on constitutional reform that could call the shots for global markets in the week ahead.
    • If the measures are rejected, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi would likely resign, further shaking Italy's vulnerable banks, the euro and possibly causing the next Brexit-like tremor for the markets.
    • The political instability would also represent a new setback for the EU, since Renzi's opponents are dominated by anti-establishment forces.
    • The polls opened at 7 a.m. local time and will close at 11 p.m. Exit polls will be released as soon as voting booths close, with a definitive result expected by about 1 a.m. on Monday.
    • ETFs: FXE, EUO, EWI, ERO, DRR, ULE, EUFX, URR, HEWI, DBIT
    • Related bank tickers: OTCPK:UNCFF, OTCPK:IITSF, OTCPK:IITOF, OTC:MDIBF, OTCPK:ISNPY, OTCPK:BPESY, OTC:UNCFY, OTCPK:MDIBY, OTCPK:BPESF
    | Sun, Dec. 4, 4:00 AM | 21 Comments
  • Fri, Dec. 2, 5:01 AM
    • Italy will hold a constitutional referendum on Sunday that has become a de facto vote on whether the Prime Minister Matteo Renzi should keep his job.
    • What's it about? The reforms would remove power from the Senate to enable laws to be passed quickly and efficiently.
    • The latest polls showing the overhauls are likely to be rejected has investors worried about a "financial meltdown" as Italy's shaky banking sector would have a tough time raising much-needed capital.
    • ETFs: EWI, HEWI, DBIT
    • Related bank tickers: OTCPK:UNCFF, OTCPK:IITSF, OTCPK:IITOF, OTC:MDIBF, OTCPK:ISNPY, OTCPK:BPESY, OTC:UNCFY, OTCPK:MDIBY, OTCPK:BPESF
    | Fri, Dec. 2, 5:01 AM | 37 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 30, 3:09 AM
    • Italian banks are holding nearly a third of the €990B of unpaid loans at top eurozone lenders, according to the ECB, raising concerns especially if the current government is ousted following Sunday's referendum on changes to the constitution.
    • Central bank sources have told Reuters the ECB is ready to temporarily boost purchases of Italian government bonds if the result of the referendum sharply drives up borrowing costs.
    | Wed, Nov. 30, 3:09 AM
  • Wed, Oct. 12, 7:11 PM
    • UniCredit (OTCPK:UNCFF +1.5%), Italy's biggest lender, is raising €550M with a sale of a 20% stake in its online bank, FinecoBank (OTC:FCBBF), as it looks to build capital amid struggling Italian financials.
    • The bank will sell about 121M shares at €4.55 each in an accelerated book building, Bloomberg says, after shares were offered in a range between €4.48 and the closing price of €4.79.
    • “The placement is a further clear indication that UniCredit intends to act in a decisive manner to seize any incremental opportunities to create value,” the bank said.
    • UniCredit may be looking at disposing of holdings in Poland's Bank Pekao, and sell a big part of its bad-loan portfolio in Italy as well, sources told Bloomberg.
    | Wed, Oct. 12, 7:11 PM
  • Tue, Sep. 27, 12:01 PM
    • The JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) boss is an Italophile, and the bank has had a long presence in Italy, and built close ties to the government, write Max Colchester and Giovanni Legorano. And as opposed to most European banks, it has vast and clean enough balance sheet to back a cleanup operation.
    • With post-financial crisis rules limiting any role the government can play in a bailout, JPMorgan has positioned itself as the country's best hope, they write. This summer, it pushed others aside to lead the rescue of Monte dei Paschi, and it's also among those vying to help UniCredit (OTCPK:UNCFF) raise at least €8B in capital.
    | Tue, Sep. 27, 12:01 PM
  • Tue, Aug. 2, 3:45 AM
    • Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (OTCPK:BMDPY) may have a strong future, according to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, in spite of the stricken lender receiving the bottom score in a Europe-wide stress test.
    • "There are some problems, yes. If now, without non-performing loans, with a clear strategy, I think this bank could be a very good bank for the future," he told CNBC in Rome. "My view is that Italian banks are good."
    | Tue, Aug. 2, 3:45 AM | 1 Comment
  • Tue, Jul. 26, 5:26 AM
    • Specialist Italian pension funds are considering a government request to pour money into a bank rescue fund, days before European stress tests are expected to show the country's third-largest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi (OTCPK:BMDPY), in urgent need of capital.
    • Italy is looking for ways to support struggling lenders without breaking EU state aid rules, but a deeper financial crisis could further undermine confidence in the eurozone's fourth-largest banking sector.
    | Tue, Jul. 26, 5:26 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Jul. 25, 2:00 AM
    • Italy doesn't have a problem with its banks, according to finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan, despite investors fretting about nearly €360B of bad debts weighing down the sector.
    • "They're not more vulnerable than they used to be. They have been strengthening over time due to reforms that have been introduced by the government."
    • His comments come amid speculation of a bank "bail-in" and ahead of the ECB's bank stress tests results on Friday.
    | Mon, Jul. 25, 2:00 AM | 7 Comments
  • Mon, Jul. 11, 11:53 AM
    • The merger of UniCredit (OTCPK:UNCFF) fund arm Pioneer and Santander Asset Management (NYSE:SAN) is near collapse, with post-Brexit uncertainty the nail in the coffin, reports the FT.
    • Negotiations have been going on for 20 months, and it was already a struggle, in part thanks to the departures of the CEOs of the two companies who first agreed to the deal.
    • The merger would have created one of the ten largest fund managers in Europe with €400B in AUM.
    | Mon, Jul. 11, 11:53 AM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Jul. 7, 3:22 AM
    • Derivative issues at European banks are a hundred times more risky than Italy's non-performing loan issues, according to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
    • Italian bank shares have crumpled over the past 10 days, totaling some €360B in losses, as investors fear a possible financial disaster in the eurozone's third-largest economy.
    | Thu, Jul. 7, 3:22 AM | 8 Comments
  • Tue, Jul. 5, 3:00 AM
    • The ECB has asked Italy's third-largest lender, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (OTCPK:BMDPY), to slash its bad debts by 40% over three years, heaping more pressure on Rome and Brussels to stabilize the country's banking system.
    • In Italy, 17% of lenders' loans are sour. That is nearly 10x the level in the U.S., where, even at the worst of the 2008-09 financial crisis, it was only 5%.
    | Tue, Jul. 5, 3:00 AM
  • Mon, Jul. 4, 4:23 AM
    • Italy has no plans to defy EU rules by pumping billions of euros of public money into its lenders, and intends to fully respect EU rules, denying an FT report that stated it was ready to bail out its banking system if it came under pressure.
    • "Italy has no intention of defying Brussels on the banks. We respect the rules and prefer market solutions for our banks," said a spokesman for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
    • UniCredit (OTC:UNCFY) -4%, MedioBanca -2.4% (OTCPK:MDIBY), Banco Popular (OTCPK:BPESF) -1.5%, BMPS -7.7% in Milan.
    | Mon, Jul. 4, 4:23 AM | 1 Comment
  • Wed, May 25, 4:56 AM
    • Unicredit (OTC:UNCFY) CEO Federico Ghizzoni has agreed to resign following days of speculation about his future amid investor discontent over the performance of Italy's largest bank.
    • A successor should be appointed at a board meeting on June 9, according to Reuters.
    • Candidates tipped for the job include Jean-Pierre Mustier, a former Societe Generale and UniCredit executive, UBS's investment banking boss, Andrea Orcel, and Merrill Lynch's Italy chief, Marco Morelli.
    | Wed, May 25, 4:56 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, May 2, 5:48 AM
    • Italian banks had a difficult start to the day as the country’s €4.25B bank bailout fund undertook its first rescue mission, after a closely-watched €1.75B capital raise at regional lender Popolare di Vicenza flopped.
    • Only 7% of the IPO was taken up and now the government rescue fund, Atlante, will be forced to take up the rest.
    • The outcome of the cash call had been viewed as a barometer of sentiment in Italy’s banking sector, which is sitting on a €360B backlog of bad loans.
    • UniCredit (OTC:UNCFY) -2.4%, MedioBanca -2.2% (OTCPK:MDIBY), Banco Popular (OTCPK:BPESF) -3.1%, BMPS -3% in Milan.
    | Mon, May 2, 5:48 AM