(Alliance News) - Major European stock markets continued to follow a bullish trajectory on Friday, the day after the ECB's latest monetary policy decision.

Although benchmark interest rates remained unchanged, policymakers hinted at potential cuts if the upcoming forecasts indicate a decline in inflationary pressures.

Thus, the FTSE Mib is in the green 1.1 percent to 34,075.03, the Mid-Cap rises 0.9 percent to 47,435.16, the Small-Cap advances 0.2 percent to 28,518.84, and Italy Growth is up 0.1 percent to 8,142.420.

Paris' CAC 40 is in the green by 0.9 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 40 is up 0.9 percent and London's FTSE 100 is up 1.3 percent.

On the macro front, Istat reported that industrial sales in Italy declined on a monthly and annual basis in January, while the service sector saw an increase in both measurements.

Italian industrial sales, therefore, fell on a monthly basis by 3.1 percent in January after a 1.0 percent increase in December, revised downward from a plus 2.1 percent. In the services sector, however, sales rose 1.6 percent from a 0.1 percent decline the month before.

On a year-over-year basis, January's 3.6 percent decline followed a 0.7 percent drop in the previous month, revised downward from a 0.1 percent drop. Within services, sales are up 3.6 percent from a 0.5 percent decline in December.

On the Mib, entirely tinged with green, Amplifon does best of all with a 4.0% rise followed by Saipem and A2A, up 3.6% and 2.7%.

UniCredit - in the green by 1.4 percent - announced Thursday that it has received authorization from the European Central Bank to execute the remaining part of its 2023 share buyback program for up to EUR3.09 billion.

ERG rises 1.3 percent. The company announced that rating agency Fitch Ratings has confirmed a long-term issuer default rating of 'BBB-', with a Stable outlook, and a senior unsecured rating of 'BBB-'. Fitch pointed out that in an energy scenario characterized by increasing volatility, the rating reflects the soundness of the group's business model and portfolio.

STMicroelectronics advances 0.3 percent after saying Thursday it has signed a long-term agreement with Centrica PLC to supply electricity generated from renewable sources in Italy.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based semiconductor manufacturer said the agreement will begin in January 2025 and last for 10 years.

Stellantis gives up 0.7 percent after announcing an additional EUR100 million investment to increase the potential of the Fiat 500e electric car. It also announced the start of annual production of 600,000 units of electrified dual-clutch transmissions at the eTransmissions assembly joint venture.

The company formed by the merger of FCA and PSA explained that this is the next step in a EUR240 million investment that contributes to the creation of the Mirafiori 2030 Automotive Park. Mirafiori will be one of Stellantis' three main global hubs for operations encompassing the entire automotive cycle, from design to recycling.

On the Mid-Cap, at the top are LU-VE, Danieli & C. and Mondadori, with rises between 3.4 percent and 3.2 percent.

Among the bullish, which are the majority, Fincantieri rises 1.1 percent after reporting that it has received an order to build four new next-generation cruise ships from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. In detail, two ships will be for the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand and two for Oceania Cruises. The former are expected to be delivered in 2026 and the latter in 2029.

d'Amico International Shipping, in the green by 3.0 percent, after announcing Wednesday that its operating subsidiary d'Amico Tankers DAC has signed an agreement to purchase the MT Amfitrion, an 'MR' of 50,000 deadweight tons and built in 2017 at Samsung Heavy Industries Ningbo, China, for USD43.5 million. The DIS fleet includes 34 double-hull tankers, with an average age relative to owned and chartered bareboat vessels of 8.8 years.

Alerion Green Power, on the other hand, advances 0.5 percent. The company on Wednesday reported that it had completed construction and started production of two new photovoltaic plants in Italy and Romania.

At the tail end are Philogen and Saras, in the red by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Among the smallcaps, Gas Plus gives up 1.6 percent. On Thursday it reported that the board approved its consolidated financial statements for 2023, which closed with a net profit of EUR42.9 million, up from EUR3.4 million in 2022.

The board also proposed an ex-dividend of EUR0.15, up from EUR0.05 a year earlier.

Fidia advances 14 percent and does best of all. The company reported Wednesday that it closed fiscal year 2023 with a net loss of EUR1.5 million, an improvement from a loss of EUR4.9 million in 2022. Consolidated net revenues were EUR28.6 million, up 17 percent from EUR24.4 million recorded in FY2022. During the meeting, the board approved a revision and update of the 2023-2026 business plan dated Oct. 31. The new plan calls for revenues to grow from EUR28.6 million in 2023 to EUR43.3 million in 2027.

It is followed by Tessellis, in the green by 3.0 percent, and Olidata, which gains 2.4 percent.

Safilo Group - in the red by 1.5 percent - and Marc Jacobs announced Wednesday that they have early renewed their multi-year global license agreement for Marc Jacobs eyewear collections until December 2031.

Among SMEs, Lindbergh is not yet affected by trades. On Thursday it announced that it had concluded, through its subsidiary SMIT Srla, an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Vergottini Srl, a historic Valtellina-based company operating in the thermo-technical plant engineering sector, with particular reference to the activities of installation, transformation, expansion and maintenance of gas systems, thermal, heating and air conditioning equipment, electrical systems, renewable energy and air treatment and ventilation systems and plants.

The transaction, which is expected to close by April, has a total value of approximately EUR1.1 million

EdiliziAcrobatica is confirmed to be up and gains 3.8 percent after opening up 3.0 percent. On Thursday it reported that the number of contracts signed in the first quarter of 2024 was 7,241 from 4,884 in the same period of 2023, an increase of 48 percent. This result reflects the growth in the number of customers, registering an annual increase of 92 percent.

Planetel cedes 1.0 percent after announcing Wednesday that it has signed a binding agreement aimed at acquiring 100 percent of the share capital of Connetical, a Veneto-based company operating in the integrated data and voice telecommunications sector, for a maximum consideration of EUR2 million, subject to adjustments as per contract, with partners Stefano Pasqualin, Umberto Pasqualin and Daniele Gallina. The transaction is expected to close by the end of April.

In New York on Thursday, the Dow Jones closed in the fractional red at 38,459.08, the S&P finished up 0.7 percent at 5,199.06, and the Nasdaq closed in the green 1.77 percent at 16,442.20.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0661 from USD1.0718 on Thursday in closing European equities while the pound was worth USD1.2495 from USD1.2529 on Thursday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is worth USD90.60 per barrel from USD89.85 on Thursday evening and gold trades at USD2,395.21 from USD2,349.20 on Thursday evening.

Friday's macroeconomic calendar includes the import and export price index from the US at 1430 CET. At 1900 CET, the Baker Hughes report will be released instead, while at 2130 CET, as usual on Friday, it will be the turn of the COT Report.

By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter

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