PARIS Stock markets advanced today in the run-up to an Italian parliamentary vote that could well determine whether Silvio Berlusconi remains the countrys premier.
Underlying sentiment in the markets remains jittery and could easily swing back and forth on the back of how Berlusconis government looks like it will perform at the budget vote later.
Berlusconis government is under intense pressure to enact quick reforms to shore up Italys defenses against Europes raging debt crisis. However, a weak coalition and doubts over Berlusconis ability to push through austerity and reforms have heightened the unease in financial markets that Italy could need financial aid.
In a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding Italys future, the interest rates it pays to borrow money for ten years spiked at one point Tuesday to 6.74 percent, its highest level since the creation of the euro in 1999.