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Italian Banks Are 'Free'-To-Trade As Short-Sale-Ban Is Not Extended
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Italian Banks Are 'Free'-To-Trade As Short-Sale-Ban Is Not Extended

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Italian Banks Are 'Free'-To-Trade As Short-Sale-Ban Is Not Extended

Unlike their French counterparts, it appears the hapless (or sensible) Italian demagogues have decided not to extend the short-sale ban that was enacted three months ago. With the US Treasury market closed and volumes likely thin elsewhere, we wonder what outlet the flight-to-safety flow will take as Italian bank equity reality is unleashed. In general the CDS market took the systemic brunt of the hedging and protection-seeking since the 8/11 ban and it seems likely that Intesa Sanpaolo and Mediobanca have the most to fall to catch up with peers in equity and credit.

Equity performance of the major Italian banks since the short-sale ban:

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Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) has fallen the most at almost 35% while Mediobanca and Intesa have held up the best. The story is different in the 'free' CDS market:

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Generally, CDS for the four major banks are notably and uniformly wider with Mediobanca outperforming (only 78bps wider) and Intesa underperforming at 144bps wider. Given the 'closeness' of Unicredit and BMPS CDS performance, we suspect the divergence in their equity market moves may compress as the equity market is opened for 'free' business tomorrow.

Furthermore, the weakness of UniCredit's CDS compared to the relative strength of its equity performance seems to offer room for compression.

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