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Italy easily raises (euro) 3 billion in bond auction

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ROME (AP) — Italy easily raised (euro) 3 billion ($4.1 billion) from markets, though at a higher cost, as premier-designate Mario Monti began talks on forming a new government of experts to guide the country through financial crisis.

While the treasury raised the maximum amount sought in a sale of five-year bonds, market sentiment remained cautious. Investors demanded an interest rate of 6.29 percent on Monday, the highest level since 1997, compared with 5.32 percent at a similar auction a month ago.

Italian president Giorgio Napolitano tapped Monti to create a government of politically neutral experts to bring down stubbornly high public debt.

Napolitano emphasized that (euro) 200 billion ($273 billion) in Italian debt comes due through the end of April — requiring decisive action.

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