(Alliance News) - Piazza Affari opened around the parity line on Wednesday's session, with Terna making waves after the plan unveiled yesterday while always the outlook penalized Poste Italiane, the worst performer at the start.

The day opened with China's central bank reporting that it had left benchmark interest rates unchanged, as expected.

The People's Bank of China left the one-year primary lending rate, which serves as the benchmark for corporate loans, unchanged at 3.45 percent. The five-year LPR, used to rate mortgages, was left at 3.95 percent. It had been cut from 4.20 percent in February in an effort to stimulate the country's weak housing market.

Closer to home, UK consumer price inflation was lower than expected in February, according to new data released Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics.

The consumer price index rose 3.4 percent in February from a year earlier after rising 4.0 percent year-on-year in January. According to the market consensus cited by FXStreet, inflation was expected to slow to 3.6 percent, meaning the figure fell short of expectations.

The FTSE Mib opened Wednesday down 0.2 percent to 34,209.53, the Mid-Cap gives up 0.5 percent to 46,984.85, the Small-Cap loses 0.5 percent to 27,287.31, and Italy Growth rises 0.2 percent to 8,132.24.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 falls 0.2% to 7,726.07, Paris' CAC 40 gives up 0.9% to 8,127.50 and Frankfurt's DAX 40 flexes 0.1% to 17,962.14.

On the main index of Piazza Affari, Terna and Poste Italiane are at the antipodes of the basket after unveiling their respective business plans.

The utility rises 4.4 percent, by far the best performer at the start of the day, after presenting its plan to 2028.

Specifically, Terna forecast investments over the plan period of EUR16.5 billion, up 65 percent from the last plan and of this EUR2.4 billion in 2024. The plan includes two strategic directions: regulated activities for which EUR15.5 billion of investments are planned and non-regulated activities that are expected to contribute EUR600 million to Ebitda.

For the development of the national electricity transmission grid Terna plans investments totaling EUR10.8 billion.

Terna Spa reported that Moody's has confirmed its 'Baa2' long-term rating on the company, with a Stable outlook.

The rating - one notch higher than Italy's - comes following the presentation of the 2024-2028 business plan, with the highest investments ever recorded in Terna's history, "aimed at strengthening the company's central role as an enabler of the energy transition and of an increasingly articulated, sustainable and innovative electricity system," the agency explains.

In the wake of Moody's, S&P also confirmed Terna's long-term rating at 'BBB+' with a Stable outlook.

On the opposite front, Poste Italiane gives up the most, in the red by 2.9 percent. The dividend is expected to be no less than EUR1.00 from 2026 while revenues are expected at EUR13.5 billion in 2028, with average annual growth of 3 percent.

Operating income is expected at EUR3.2 billion, with CAGR of 4%, and net income is expected at EUR2.3 billion at the end of the plan, with annual growth of 4%.

Invested customer financial assets are expected up to EUR624 billion in 2028 from EUR581 billion in 2023, supported by proactive customer portfolio management and a renewed range of postal savings products as well as specialized coverage of Affluent+ customers exceeding 80%. Capex 2024-2028 will be self-funded by the group for about EUR5.0 billion.

Among other blue chips, Banco BPM and Snam were up 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, and fashion declined with Moncler down 1.2 percent and Brunello Cucinelli in the red by 1.1 percent.

On the Mid-Cap, Fincantieri continues to rise -- up 0.8% -- after signing a partnership with Saipem, while luxury flexes on this basket as well, with Salvatore Ferragamo in the red by 2.9%, registering the steepest decline on the list.

Saras rises 0.3% despite Barclays downgrading the stock to 'equal weight' from 'overweight' and raising its target price to EUR1.75 from EUR1.70.

Among small-cap companies, Bioera rises 15 percent, with the stock currently suspended for excess volatility.

Badly hurt is Eurotech, in the red by 13 percent, and FILA, down 3.4 percent, after unveiling its fiscal year 2023 results.

The IoT company reported that it closed 2023 with a net loss of EUR3.1 million compared to a loss of EUR1.6 million in 2022. Revenues fell to EUR93.8 million from EUR94.3 million while, at constant exchange rates, there would be a 3.6 percent year-on-year increase.

As of December 31, 2023, the group had a Net Financial Position with a net debt of EUR20.6 million compared to net debt of EUR14.4 million as of December 31, 2022. The change in NFP was mainly driven by an increase in working capital, which in turn was correlated by a reduction in trade payables.

For FILA, on the other hand, the negative momentum continues, and after losing 7.6 percent on Tuesday at the close, the stock still lost ground that the company let it be known that it ended 2023 with consolidated revenues of EUR779.2 million from EUR764.6 million as of December 31, 2022. Normalized net income for the period was EUR40.6 million from EUR42.8 million as of Dec. 31, 2022.

Among the SMEs on the Italian Stock Exchange, with few stocks still trading, Siav leads the rises with a 7.8 percent increase while Illa does worst of all, complicit with a 7.1 percent drop.

Gentili Mosconi rises 1.4 percent after finalizing the acquisition of 70 percent of Tintoria Comacina, a historic company in the province of Como. The deal is the first acquisition netted by Gentili Mosconi and confirms the growth and integration process announced a year ago when the company was listed on the stock exchange, aimed at creating a central hub of synergies by internalizing skills and crucial phases of the production process.

In Asia, with Tokyo closed for the Spring Equinox, the Shanghai Composite closed Wednesday up 0.6 percent to 3,079.69 and the Hang Seng closed up 0.1 percent to 16,543.07.

In New York, the Dow closed Tuesday up 0.8 percent to 39,110.76, the Nasdaq gained 0.4 percent to 16,166.79 and the S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent to 5,178.51.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0857 against USD1.0860 recorded in Tuesday's European stock close while the pound is worth USD1.2705 from USD1.2719 on Tuesday evening.

Brent crude is worth USD86.85 per barrel versus USD86.63 per barrel at Tuesday's close. Gold, meanwhile, trades at USD2,156.58 an ounce from USD2,154.43 an ounce on Tuesday evening.

The macroeconomic calendar continues with Italian industrial production data at 1000 CET, shortly after a speech by Christine Lagarde and before that of Philippe Lane of the European Central Bank. At 1100 CET, space is given to Eurozone construction output.

In the U.S., eyes will be on mortgage data, due out at 1200 CET, and crude oil stocks, at 1530 CET. But the catalyst of the day will be the Federal Reserve's decision, due at 1900 CET.

Among the companies in Piazza Affari, the accounts of Beewize, Digital Magics, ENAV and LVenture Group are expected.

By Giuseppe Fabio Ciccomascolo, Alliance News senior reporter

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