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Alitalia's shares tumble after first half loss

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Alitalia's shares tumble after first half loss

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Trading of Alitalia’s shares had to be temporarily suspended twice because they had fallen so far. Trading was halted on Wednesday morning and again just five minutes before the Milan Stock Exchange closed. The shares finished the day down over 10%. The dramatic decline came after the national carrier announced its first-half net loss had widened to 221 million euros compared to losses of 125 million euros in the same period last year. It blamed that on higher fuel prices, increased competition from low cost-carriers and losses from industrial action. Alitalia also said even though second half results would show an improvement it would almost certainly end the year in the red rather than returning to profit, as it has previously promised. Proposed job cuts and sales off assets have angered the unions who have held a series of strikes.