Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

c.2013 New York Times News Service

PARIS — Global stocks fell on Monday amid concerns about the budget showdown in Washington and a growing political crisis in Italy, with stocks down about 1 percent on Wall Street in morning trading.

In Washington, the funding needed to keep the U.S. government open is on the line, as the Senate, controlled by Democrats, is expected to reject a bill offered by the Republican-controlled House that would delay President Barack Obama’s health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday.

If the Senate does reject the bill, only a surrender by House Republicans would keep much of the federal government from closing. The uncertainty about the consequences of a shutdown led investors to sell stocks around the world.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index slipped 0.8 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 135 points, or 0.9 percent, by mid-morning. In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index, a barometer of eurozone blue chips, fell 1.2 percent in afternoon trading, while the FTSE 100 index in London dropped 0.8 percent.

Asian shares also tumbled Monday, with the Tokyo benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average declining 2.1 percent and the Sydney market index S&P/ASX 200 1.7 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index fell 1.5 percent.

Despite the uncertainties in Washington, Treasury securities still seemed to strike many investors as a relatively safe bet. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, which moves in the opposite direction from the price, fell 0.02 percentage points to 2.6 percent.

While the game of chicken in Washington was foremost in investors’ minds, Europe had a sudden flare-up of an old ailment: Italian politics. The yield on the Italian 10-year bond rose 0.09 percentage points, to 4.5 percent Monday, after the political party of the billionaire former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shook the government over the weekend.

Five ministers of Berlusconi’s People of Liberty party resigned from the Cabinet, leading Prime Minister Enrico Letta to call for a confidence vote to be held this week. A failure to win that vote, which will probably be held Wednesday, could lead to the collapse of his governing coalition.

The dollar was little changed against other major currencies.