European Markets Close Down, Italy Tanks

Beppe Grillo ItalyBeppe Grillo

Photo: AP

European stock markets are in the red across the board heading into the close.Italy is leading shares lower, down 1.4 per cent.

The losses follow comments by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi suggesting he may challenge the current Italian government.

Perhaps more important in fueling the drop were polls showing surging support for the rising Five Star opposition movement, led by comedian Beppe Grillo, in regional Italian elections.

France is off 0.7 per cent, and Spain is down 0.6 per cent on the day.

Germany is the outperformer today, down 0.3 per cent.

Elsewhere, Greece is getting crushed, down over 6 per cent on delayed bank earnings results.

Trading volume was thin in European markets due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States, which forced a closure of U.S. markets.

ALSO: Mario Draghi reveals a ghost from his past that explains why he’s against inflation >

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at