Standard & Poor's has lowered its rating for Italian sovereign debt one step, from BBB-plus to BBB, and left a negative outlook unchanged. "The rating action reflects our view of the effects of further weakening growth on Italy's economic structure and resilience, and its impaired monetary transmission mechanism," according to S&P. The action comes as Italy prepares to sell €6.5 billion in medium- and long-term bonds and €9.5 billion in Treasury bills.

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