Italian markets are tanking after Renzi's crushing referendum defeat

Financial markets in Italy are tumbling on Monday morning following the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi after his crushing defeat in Sunday’s constitutional reform referendum.

At the open, Italy’s benchmark stock index, the FTSE MIB fell off a cliff, starting the day’s trading lower by around 2.4% as investors react to the political instability caused by Renzi calling time on his premiership.

Since the open, shares have bounced back sharply, and as of 8.10 a.m. GMT (3.10 a.m. ET) are down just over 1%. Here is the chart:

Losses so far on the day have, understandably, been led by Italy’s financial sector, where numerous banks — particularly the world’s oldest, Monte dei Paschi di Siena — are under severe pressure thanks to an enormous surfeit of bad loans, and a desperate need to recapitalise.

Monte dei Paschi, along with Popolare di Vicenza, Veneto Banca, Carige, Banca Etruria, CariChieti, Banca delle Marche, and CariFerrara are all at risk of collapse in the aftermath of the referendum, it was warned last week.

Here is how Monte dei Paschi looked just after the open:

And here is how Italy’s largest lender, and the country’s only globally systemically important bank, is performing so far:

Elsewhere in Europe, equities have responded to the referendum result and Renzi’s resignation fairly calmly, with Europe’s key indexes actually trading in positive territory in early trade. Here is the scoreboard:

The relative calm of the markets on Monday morning reflects the fact that investors had broadly priced in a “no” vote and Renzi’s subsequent resignation, as polls had largely pointed in that direction in the run-up. Last week, most polls put it about 6 percentage points ahead of the “yes” camp.

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