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This week's roundup includes news that Italy's political crisis has shaken European markets, the 'bank of Mum and Dad' is feeling the pinch and Dixons Carphone is expected to close 92 stores off the back of poor financial results.

Italy political crisis hits European stock markets

European financial markets have been hit by political upheaval in Italy.

The prospect of elections as early as September, along with the possibility of eurosceptic parties strengthening their position, hit markets on Tuesday.

Yesterday Italy's benchmark FTSE MIB sank 2.6%, the UK's FTSE was down 1.2%, Germany's Dax was down 1.5%, and France's Cac was down 1.3%.

And the sell-off in Italian bonds deepened, with the yield on two-year debt breaking through the 2% barrier.

This turmoil was precipitated after the anti-establishment Five Star and League political parties abandoned their attempts to form a ruling coalition after a standoff with President Sergio Mattarella.

Mattarella had vetoed their choice of a eurosceptic economic minister and appointed former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli as interim prime minister with the task of trying to form a government.

But his term is likely to be cut short as he will almost certainly lose a parliamentary vote of confidence. If he does, then new elections would soon follow.

Bank of Mum and Dad 'feels the pinch'

Parents can't afford to lend as much as they used to when helping their children get on the property ladder, according to research by Legal & General (L&G).

Research shows the average parental contribution for home buyers this year will be £18,000, down 17% from last year's £21,600.

Nonetheless, more than one in four buyers are still expected to receive financial help from friends or family.

Despite the smaller sums being loaned, L&G said the so-called Bank of Mum and Dad was still ‘a prime mover’ in the UK housing market with almost 317,000 housing transactions this year expected to rely on some parental help.

Where buyers live also has a big impact on how much they rely on their parents for help. In London, the average parental contribution is £31,000 compared with £11,000 in Scotland.

Dixons Carphone to close 92 stores as profits slide

Shares in Dixons Carphone have sunk by over 20% after it warned of a sharp fall in profits this year.

The mobile phone and electrical goods retailer also said it would close 92 of more than 700 Carphone Warehouse stores this year.

It expects pre-tax profits for 2017-18 to be £382m, but it predicts profits will fall to £300m in 2018-19.

Chief executive Alex Baldock said: ‘nobody is happy with our performance’ but the problems were all ‘fixable’.

The company blamed ‘challenges’ in the market for mobile phones and mobile services, including a declining market for long-term mobile contracts and people not renewing their handsets as frequently.

The company expects a further decline in the market for long-term mobile contracts in the current financial year but forecasts an increase in its share of the market for SIM-free handsets. Dixons said no jobs would be lost as a result of the closures.

Pret a Manger staff to get £1,000 bonus after takeover

All 12,000 staff employed by sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger will receive a £1,000 bonus once the sale of the firm is completed.

The company is to be sold by its private equity owners Bridgepoint to Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings.

The two firms did not say how much JAB was paying, although one report put the value of the deal at £1.5bn.

Pret a Manger chief executive, Clive Schlee, said: ‘The £1,000 bonus will be paid to all employees who are on the payroll during the week the deal completes. It's serendipity for those who have just joined.’

Pret operates 530 stores worldwide, generating group revenues of £879m. Its sale is expected to be completed this summer.