Stocks rocked by Mario Monti exit news

<p>The stock markets have been rocked by news of Mario Monti’s earlier-than-expected departure from office.</p>

The main European stock markets have been rocked by the news prime minister of Italy Mario Monti will not be leading the country until April of next year, instead stepping down from the top job in February.

Furthermore, previous leader Silvio Berlusconi – who courted scandal throughout his time in office – has revealed he will be submitting his candidacy for the premiership.

Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew its support from the technocrat government on Thursday, which came into power last year after investors raised fears about Italy's economic health.

Mr Monti replaced Mr Berlusconi when the nation's benchmark ten-year bond yield reached a eurozone record of 7.48 per cent in November 2011, bringing about the latter's departure.

The incumbent leader had hoped to have turned the economy around by April 2013, but – as with the whole eurozone – a recovery may be a little way off yet.

At 16:40 GMT, the pan-European DJ Eurostoxx 50 slipped by 0.3 per cent to an index value of 2593.4 points.

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