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Spain Bank Rescue Glee Morphs Into Markets Rout

DANIEL WOOLLS

MADRID (AP) ⿿ Euphoria over a lifeline of up to ⿬100 billion ($125 billion) to rescue Spain's hurting banks morphed into a financial markets rout in a matter of hours Monday, as investors digested the still-undefined plan and became concerned the country may be unable to repay the new loans.

The rate on Spanish 10-year bonds â¿¿ a measure of market trust in a country's ability to repay debt â¿¿ rose to an alarmingly high yield of 6.47 percent at the close of trading after falling to 6 percent in the morning. And the benchmark IBEX-35 stock index closed down 0.5 percent after surging 6 percent in the morning.

Overshadowing Spain's acceptance over the weekend of a bailout for banks burdened by toxic property assets and loans are Greek elections next weekend and concerns that the anti-bailout left-wing party Syriza could become the largest party in parliament, putting the country's membership in the zone at risk.

Investors also zeroed in on Italy, sending its bond yields sharply higher amid worries it could be next in line for a bailout because of a deepening recession and increasing pressure on the administration of Premier Mario Monti. And Spain's economy is in terrible shape with no sign of improvement anytime soon.

"Plenty of risk still remains in place, with question marks over the ability of Spain to repay the debt, especially, if the country fails to get back on the growth path, the outcome of the upcoming Greek elections and the perception of situation in Italy," Anita Paluch of Gekko Global Markets wrote in a note to clients.

Spain's bond yield is worrisome because it is perilously close the 7 percent rate that is considered unsustainable, and the level that pushed Greece, Ireland and Portugal to ask for bailouts of their government finances. While Spain's bailout does not include the government, investors are worried that Spain might eventually be forced into such a situation.

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