Italy closes stock markets after share prices drop

The Treasure Ministry closed Italy's stock markets for the rest of the week after a collapse in share prices. The collapse, which began last month, was caused by a flood of selling by speculators. It was the first closure of the markets since 1917.

The reason for this week's price plunge was last Friday's commission decision to end a ban imposed in June on forward trading in shares. The ban, requiring immediate settlement of deals and preventing normal settlements at the end of the trading month, reduced trading to a trickle.It was intended to protect investors from a selling flood, b ut its removal allowed a further rush of sales.

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