Italian banks hit

MILAN: Several Italian banks ran into trouble on Milan’s stock exchange in early trading on Monday, amid rumours of difficulties in negotiations over bank consolidation. Italy’s BMPS (Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena) dropped 12.92 per cent in a market down by around two per cent, while Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna slumped 8.97 per cent and UBI Banca was down 8.53 per cent. All three shares were briefly suspended in morning trading because of their sharp declines. Bank stocks have been volatile for weeks as rumours fly in media over possible mergers.