Italy is one of the PIIGS, and therefore one of the big troubled spots for investors to keep their eyes on. The good news is that if the hangman is still lurking, it seems that no one can see him anywhere. A Monday bond auction in Italy took five-year and 10-year sovereign borrowing costs down to the lowest reading since late in 2010.
A new government coalition in Italy and hopes of a European Central Bank rate cut later this week were two of the driving forces. Italy raised some 6 billion euros in 2018 and 2023 maturities. After looking closer at the results, this came to a yield of 2.84% for the five-year 3.50% coupon and a yield of 3.94% for the 10-year 4.50% coupon.
Another driving force behind the demand and solid pricing of the bonds is that Italy’s sovereign credit rating was affirmed by Moody’s at Baa2 late last week. Some even feel that investors will continue to move into European debt out of Japanese government bonds as the Bank of Japan is buying up assets.
The reaction in the Italian ETF and ADRs is signaling favorable gains as well. The iShares MSCI Italy Capped Index (NYSEMKT: EWI) is up a sharp 2.5% at $13.19 on the day, and the ADRs for Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) are up 4.6% at $8.40 on the day in New York trading. Even the ADR of oil and gas giant Eni SpA (NYSE: E) is up 1.7% at $47.62 so far in New York trading.