The surprise factor in Sunday and Monday's election was the number of votes for comic-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo, whose 5 Star Movement capitalized on a wave of voter disgust with the ruling political class.

In Spain, another country struggling with austerity, ministers expressed concern over the Italian election results but were confident they won't upset plans to lift Europe out of the crisis.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said the result was "a jump to nowhere with positive consequences for nobody."

The EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, told reporters in Copenhagen Tuesday that it was important "Italy pursues reform for the sake of sustainable growth and job creation."

The euro was hit hard late Monday on the initial fallout of the election results, nearly dropping below $1.30 for the first time since early 2013. However, it recovered Tuesday, trading 0.1% higher at $1.3087.

Wall Street was poised for a steady opening, a day after the main U.S. indexes had their worst session since last November. Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures were up 0.2%.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei slid 2.3% to 11,398.81 as the yen appreciated to the potential detriment of the country's exporters. The dollar was 0.4% lower at $92.23 yen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.3% to 22,519.69 while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5% to 2,000.01.

Oil prices took a hit too, with the benchmark New York rate 64 cents lower at $92.47 a barrel.

"Clearly markets are taking fright from the messy and chaotic Italian election result," said Louise Cooper, financial analyst at CooperCity.

-- Pylas reported from London.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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