UPDATE 1-Market mood sinks Fiat shares to 10-year low


MILAN, July 24 (Reuters) - Shares in struggling Italian industrial group Fiat fell to a new 10-year low on Wednesday, with traders saying general market fear was battering a stock already a focus for nervousness.

Fiat stock was suspended limit-down for about 35 minutes on the Milan stock exchange, having fallen more than the maximum 10 percent allwed by the Italian bourse.

Soon after it reopened at 1322 GMT, the stock fell as low as 10.20 euros, its lowest level since September 1992. At 1410 GMT, Fiat shares were trading at 10.49 euros, down 8.2 percent.

Traders and analysts said there was no particular reason for Fiat's fall and blamed it on what one dealer called "this black, black market mood".

"Frankly there's been a drip effect of bad news from Fiat and nobody knows when it might end," said another Milan-based trader. "While there's uncertainty on the negative side, it's going to take a lot for Fiat's stock to rise."

Fiat shares have fallen more than 30 percent so far this year, hammered by fears about its debt and ability to make money while its core car sales shrink and the once-dominant Fiat Auto loses market share both in Italy and abroad.

In June, Moody's ratings agency downgraded Fiat's debt to one notch above "junk" and joined a chorus suggesting the best cure for Fiat's finances would be to sell its loss-making car unit to General Motors Corp .

Fiat can sell its 80 percent stake in Fiat Auto to GM from 2004 under a "put" option agreed when the U.S. giant bought the other 20 percent in 2000.

Fiat, which has hammered out a string of money-raising, debt-deconsolidating deals this year, is due to report second-quarter results on Monday. A Reuters poll of analysts saw the group making an operating loss of 105 million euros.

Milan-listed stocks are automatically suspended if they rise or fall 10 percent from their opening price.



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