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Italian elections roil overseas markets

LONDON — Highly inconclusive Italian election results rekindled fears of more debt troubles in Europe on Tuesday, slamming stock markets and sending fresh jitters through global commodity and bond markets.

Italian voters delivered a stinging rebuke to the nation’s political class and to the painful economic austerity measures meant to bring down the crushing debt in the euro zone’s third-largest economy. With no one political force winning a clear path to a majority in both of Italy’s chambers, politicians in Rome began arduous talks to form a government. Most scenarios were viewed as leading to a weak coalition vulnerable to a quick fall.

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The vote underscored the still-volatile nature of Europe’s debt crisis. Economists said the chaotic political outlook in Italy raised the prospect that deeper economic turmoil would once again take root.

‘‘We believe the likelihood of Italy entering a financial assistance program has increased as a result of the electoral outcome,’’ Citibank’s London research arm said Tuesday in an investment note.

The key index in Milan fell by 4.4 percent in midday trading on Tuesday, with bank stocks particularly feeling the pain. Italian borrowing costs jumped to three-month highs, and those of other troubled European economies, including Spain and Portugal, also spiked. Across the continent, market sentiment turned negative. London’s FTSE 100 fell 1.28 percent, the Paris CAC 40 dropped more than 2 percent, and the key index in Frankfurt was off by more than 1.8 percent. At the same time, investors drove up the price of safe-haven gold and pushed down oil prices on fears of lower economic growth.

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