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Europe: Stocks open lower on Greek election result


[LONDON] European stock markets slid in opening trade on Monday after an anti-austerity party won Greece's elections, throwing its international bailout into doubt and sparking fears it could leave the eurozone.

In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies fell 0.57 per cent to 6,794 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 shed 0.53 per cent to 10,592.97 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.45 per cent to 4,620 points compared with Friday's closing level.

"The negative open stems from Greek national election results showing a sweeping victory for anti-austerity party Syriza," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at trading firm Accendo Markets. "While this generates uncertainty based on strong desire to leave behind austerity and renegotiate/abandon current Troika bailout conditions, as well as empower populist movements elsewhere in Europe, a slightly softer party rhetoric of late means losses are considered not as bad as they might have been."

Greece awoke to a new era of defiant anti-austerity Monday after voters handed a decisive victory to radical left party Syriza, putting the country on a collision course with the EU and international creditors. In a result that exceeded analysts' expectations, Syriza and its 40-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras won 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek parliament, just two short of an absolute majority, with most of the votes counted.

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Syriza campaigned on renegotiating the European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout that imposed strict spending and taxation rules on Athens. The possibility of Greece defaulting on its debt repayments is likely to spark renewed fears the country could be forced to leave the eurozone.