European stocks pared losses on Monday on intensifying market talk that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could resign soon, easing fears over the country's ability to deal with its debt pile.
By late morning, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.4 per cent at 976.24 points, after falling by nearly 2 per cent in early trade. Italy's FTSE MIB , meanwhile reversed early losses to trade up 1.9 per cent.
"It's the rumour on Berlusconi that helps the market trim its losses. The market was down on concerns over Italy, so the only possible trigger for a bounce has to come from Italy," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading, at Global Equities, in Paris.