Entries in Italy (11)


Gridlock in Italy Sends Stocks Tumbling

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S stock markets tumbled as Italians voted for what appears to be political gridlock.  Italy is a key member of the eurozone and political impasse there could reignite the European economic crisis.
As results of the Italian election began trickling out, the Dow turned negative, ending the day down 216 points, or 1.6 percent, at 13,784.17.  This is the Dow’s biggest drop so far this year.

The S&P closed at 1,487.85, down 28 points. The Nasdaq Composite was down 46 points at 3,116.25.
Italy is working its way through a deep recession and painful austerity measures.  In Monday’s elections Italians seemed to reject austerity, without giving any one party enough votes to form a government.
There are automatic budget cuts coming at the end of the week here in the U.S., which could add to the negative impact on markets in coming days.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Did Mark Zuckerberg Stiff His Italian Waiter?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook’s newlywed and newly minted billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg is being criticized after he reportedly skipped out on paying gratuity not once, but twice after dining out with his wife on the couple’s Italian honeymoon.

Still, tipping waiters or waitresses is not customary in European restaurants because the wait staff typically earn a salary, and therefore do not depend on tips unlike U.S. wait staff. Because Americans are generally used to tipping when dining out, they tend to also do so abroad – earning a reputation as generous tippers by local Italian restaurateurs.

“It's far more likely that he knows the deal than is just being a cheapskate,” Genevieve Shaw-Brown, ABC's Travel & Lifestyle Editor, said. “Certainly he has no reason to be a cheapskate. He has plenty of money, and I think we would have heard of him not tipping in the U.S. before we would have heard of him not tipping abroad – so it's pretty likely that he knows the deal.”

So as it turns out, Zuckerberg may have just been following the old adage "when in Rome."

That said, Shaw-Brown says Zuckerberg still could have plunked down a few bucks, especially since it's estimated that the Harvard drop out made an estimated $20 billion when Facebook went public this month.

“It's really interesting that these things sort of get called out,” she said. “For him, it probably would have made sense to leave the tip, just to avoid this little bit of bad press.”

Zuckerberg and new bride Priscilla Chan married the weekend following Facebook’s May 17 initial public offering in a backyard ceremony that also celebrated Chan’s medical school graduation.

Ironically, the first images from the pair’s honeymoon surfaced on Twitter, not Facebook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Moody's Downgrades Six European Countries, Warns Three Others

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Moody's downgraded the credit ratings of six European countries on Monday and warned that three others, including Britain, could be next.

The credit ratings agency cut Italy's grade to A3 from A2, Spain's to A3 from A1, Portugal's to Ba3 from Ba2, Malta's to A3 from A2, Slovakia's to A2 from A1, and Slovenia's to A2 from A1.  All six countries were also given negative outlooks.

Meanwhile, Moody's gave negative outlooks to the United Kingdom, France and Austria, meaning that the countries could lose their AAA ratings in the future if the economy remains weak.

Monday's downgrades and warnings are a reminder that the region continues to be plagued by debt problems.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Who's Cashing In on the Cruise Ship Disaster?

Laura Lezza/Getty Images(GIGLIO, Italy) -- For many Italians, one phrase uttered in exasperation captured everything that went wrong and what little that went right when the Costa Concordia luxury liner keeled over off the Italian coast. As the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino sat safely in a lifeboat and reportedly balked at orders to return to his ship, another captain on shore erupted in angry frustration.

“Get back on board for —’s sake!” yelled Coast Guard Captain Gregorio DeFalco in Italian.

That quote -- “Vada a bordo, cazzo” in Italian -- is now emblazoned on T-shirts, turned into a Twitter hashtag, and made into numerous Facebook groups, the largest of which has over 21,000 likes and features altered pictures in which Schettino is made to look like a pirate. The group also features photos of Schettino fleeing the wreckage in various vehicles ranging from kayak to a Jet Ski.

Schettino remains under house arrest as a court investigates accusations that he abandoned his ship and was responsible for manslaughter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fitch Places Six Eurozone Countries on Ratings Watch

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images(PARIS) -- On Friday, the credit ratings agency Fitch put six European countries on a downgrade watch list, causing further threat to the Eurozone which has been facing a debt crisis.

Despite affirming France's triple A rating, Fitch downgraded the country's outlook from stable to negative which could mean a ratings downgrade in two years.

Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland and Cyprus were placed under Rating Watch Negative with the probability of a downgrade at the end of a review in Jan. 2012.

Fitch said the region's crisis has been on a negative decline since July causing concern about the financial stability of member nations.

"In the absence of a 'comprehensive solution', the Eurozone crisis will persist and likely be punctuated by episodes of severe financial market volatility," said the agency in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Stock Futures Up Amid Hopes over European Debt Crisis

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street is geared to kick off its final day of trading this week on a high, amid promising news out of Europe.  U.S. stock futures were up ahead of Friday's opening bell.

The day before, the stock market made a slight rebound from its steep plunge on Wednesday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 113 points on Thursday, while the Nasdaq gained four and the S&P 500 tacked on 11.

Developments out of Europe are making investors more hopeful the region will be able to keep its debt problems from creating an international crisis.

On Thursday, Greece named European Central Bank Vice President Lucas Papademos as its new prime minister, replacing George Papandreou to handle the financial crisis plaguing the country.

And in Italy, the country's 10-year borrowing rate dropped to 6.6 percent Friday morning after spiking above 7 percent on Wednesday.  Italy's Senate is also poised on Friday to vote on measures aimed at reducing the country's deficit.

As a result, European stocks are also trading higher on Friday and Asian stocks mostly closed up.  South Korea’s Kospi climbed 2.77 percent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.23 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.91 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index inched up 0.16 percent, and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.06 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wall Street Looks to Bounce Back After Sharp Sell-off

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street is poised for a rebound Thursday following a steep sell-off the day before.  U.S. stock futures were slightly higher ahead of the opening bell.

News that Italian President Giorgio Napolitano named Mario Monti, a former European commissioner, senator for life helped lift the stock market.  The move potentially sets up Monti to be the next head of government after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi steps down.

This political development also helped pushed European stocks higher on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Wall Street tanked amid rising Italian borrowing costs.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 389 points, the Nasdaq lost 106 and the S&P 500 shed 47.

Asian stocks followed suit, closing down on Thursday.  Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 5.25 percent, South Korea’s Kospi sank 4.94 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index fell 2.91, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 2.35 percent, and China's Shanghai Composite dropped 1.80 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Italy’s Crisis: Why You Should Worry

Comstock/Thinkstock edit Delete caption

(NEW YORK) -- The ever-changing situation in Europe has left many feeling confused and distant.

However, the crisis may hit closer to home than you think, not just affecting the global economy, but the average American’s wallet as well.

Italian bond yields, a foreign term for most, pose a serious concern for us now. Those bond yields tell the U.S. what it costs Italy to raise money in order to pay its debts. Now those numbers are skyrocketing, making it harder for Italy to do so. Every uptick in the bond rating sends Italy closer to default.

So how does this affect the American wallet? Italy’s debt is five times the amount that Greece owes.  The effort to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts has already been a messy process, so the prospect of Europe mustering the political will and cash to bail Italy is almost impossible to imagine.

If these economies do default and there is no bailout, the European economy is likely to collapse.

Italy makes up the world’s seventh-largest economy, and while Greece makes up two percent of the European Union’s GDP, Italy still makes up seventeen percent. An economy that large will not collapse in an orderly way and is likely too big for its European partners to bail out.

Europe is the number-one trading partner for U.S. businesses so a cold in Europe means a chill for the U.S. This would undoubtedly weaken the West’s economic clout and make easier China and India’s inextricable economic advance.

One could argue that the European crisis has already affected the U.S.  banking system. A new survey of loan officers by the U.S. Federal Reserve shows that credit conditions have tightened over the past three months, with only five domestic banks out of fifty saying that they relaxed their standards for lending to large companies.

There are still hopes that a coordinated effort between the Italian government and European Central Bank could do put up a strong enough firewall that would prevent the crisis from spreading.

However, the more time that goes by without a coordinated plan, the worse the problem gets. Global investors would respond well to some sense of political unity. But looking at Italy now, especially in the midsts of political upheaval, the markets see no signs of a willingness to make those tough decisions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wall Street to Open in the Red over Rising Italian Borrowing Costs

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street is poised for a rocky start Wednesday as investors' worries over Europe's debt crisis grow amid news that Italian bond yields have spiked above 7 percent.  Stock futures are significantly lower ahead of the opening bell.

The latest development from Italy also sent European stocks tumbling on Wednesday.

The day before, news that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to step down helped give the U.S. stock market a jolt.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 102 points on Tuesday, the Nasdaq added 32 and the S&P 500 climbed 15.

Berlusconi's impending resignation also helped give Asian stocks a boost.  Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.71 percent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.22 percent, Japan’s Nikkei index added 1.15 percent, China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.84 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi tacked on 0.23 percent.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Stock Futures Up as Italy's Budget Vote Nears

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With all eyes on Italy Tuesday, Wall Street is headed for a good start with stock futures up before trading kicks off.

The day before, the markets managed to post minimal gains across the board.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 85 points on Monday, the Nasdaq jumped nine and the S&P 500 climbed eight.

Investors are awaiting a budget vote from Italy on Tuesday which could lead to the resignation of the country's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.  The 75-year-old leader is taking heat for the European nation's massive debt and annual deficits.

Overseas, European stocks are trading higher on Tuesday, while Asian stocks ended the day mostly down.  Japan's Nikkei index fell the steepest, losing 1.27 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.83 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.24 percent.  Australia’s S&P/ASX 200, however, bucked the trend, adding 0.48 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell flat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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