(Alliance News) - On Friday, major European stock markets confirm expectations and open in negative territory, with Milan doing worse than all at the start, opening a day that is expected to be quiet in terms of economic and corporate news, but opened with news of an Israeli attack in Iran, exacerbating tensions in the Middle East.

Thus, the FTSE Mib opens in the red by 1.0 percent to 33,545.48, the Mid-Cap is in the red by 0.8 percent to 46,070.35, the Small-Cap is down by 0.6 percent to 27,803.66, and Italy Growth is in the red by 0.2 percent to 8,010.65.

In Europe, Paris' CAC 40 is in the red by 0.6 percent, as is London's FTSE 100, while Frankfurt's DAX 40 is in the red by 0.9 percent.

In macroeconomic news, producer prices for German commercial goods fell 2.9 percent in March compared to March 2023, according to data released Friday by Destatis.

In February, the rate of change from the same month a year earlier was negative 4.1%.

In the UK, retail sales volume was flat in March, following a revised 0.1 percent increase in February and missing market expectations of 0.3 percent growth. The data were released Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

From Japan, inflation slowed to 2.6 percent in March, broadly in line with market expectations.

The year-over-year increase in prices excluding volatile fresh food--against a market consensus of 2.7 percent--followed February's 2.8 percent increase, partly due to lower gas bills.

Back in Milan, on the Mib, the only stock up was Amplifon, in the green by 0.9 percent.

Doing worse than all is Stellantis, which sits on the bottom and gives up 2.3 percent. The company reported that sales fell in Europe in March, in line with the negative trend in the performance of the European market, where registrations fell 5.2% year-on-year.

As data from ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, showed on Thursday, the merged PSA Groupe and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles giant posted an 8.7 percent drop compared to March 2023, with market share down to 16.5 percent in March from 17.6 percent in March 2023.

Saipem also goes down, down 2.2%, complicit with tensions in the Middle East.

Banca Monte dei Paschi gives up 1.7 percent, after a 3.1 percent gain in Thursday's session. Rocca Salimbeni announced that it has completed the placement of a EUR750 million five-year covered bond issue.

As the bank explains, this is the first European covered bond issue carried out by the bank after the transposition of the European harmonization directive on covered bonds. In detail, orders exceeded EUR2.3 billion with coupon at the 3.5 percent level and at a re-offer price of 99.919 percent.

Poste Italiane--declining 0.5%--reported Thursday that the board had proposed to shareholders authorization to purchase 3.5 million of its own ordinary shares.

The shares, equal to 0.3 percent of Poste's share capital, can be bought back at a maximum of EUR56 million. The buyback program will last for a maximum of 18 months.

On the cadet segment, MFE's class A and B shares open the former in the red by 0.7 percent, while the latter rise 0.2 percent. The group's fiscal year 2023 financial results, approved Wednesday by the board of directors, are well above the company's estimates from the beginning of the year. Net income - excluding the accounting impact arising in the two fiscal years from the contribution of the shareholding in Prosiebensat1 - is positive at EUR217.5 million, up 18 percent from EUR184.7 million in 2022.

OVS -- up 1.1 percent -- reported Thursday that it ended the year ended Jan. 31, 2024 with a reported net profit of EUR52.4 million, up from EUR39.6 million in the same period last year. The board of directors proposed a dividend of EUR0.07 from EUR0.06 as of Jan. 31, 2023. Net sales stood at EUR1.54 billion from EUR1.51 billion as of January 31, 2023.

d'Amico gives up 0.5 percent after announcing Wednesday that its operating subsidiary, d'Amico Tankers DAC, has entered into a construction contract with Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding, China, to purchase two new 'Long Range' tankers at a contract price of USD55.4 million each. The company expects these two new ships to be delivered in September and November 2027, respectively.

Juventus Football Club - down 1.4 percent - announced on Wednesday evening that, with reference to the arbitration judgment instituted by former player Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro against the company, the Arbitration Board transmitted to the parties the award rendered in the dispute, stipulating that the company is required to pay a sum of approximately EUR9.8 million. The figure corresponds to half of the former member's demand of about EUR19.6 million.

On the Small-Cap, Bialetti Industrie rose 0.4 percent after reporting that it ended 2023 with revenues up 6.1 percent to EUR141.2 million from EUR133.1 million a year earlier.

Ebitda increased to EUR19.2 million from EUR16.1 million a year earlier while operating income rose to EUR14.9 million from EUR11.1 million in 2022.

IGD gives up 1.3 percent after it announced Thursday that its board of directors, appointed earlier in the day by the shareholders' meeting for the three-year period 2024 - 2026, elected Antonio Rizzi as chairman of the board, Edy Gambetti as vice chairman, and Roberto Zoia as CEO and general manager.

Among SMEs, Eles gives up 1.9 percent after it reported on Thursday that ATS Engineering, SEMI Test Laboratory in Israel, an investee company of the group since 2019, announced that it has signed with iNPACK - PCB Technologies Company -, a joint venture to create the first Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly And Test in the Middle East.

Dotstay-not intersted by the exchanges-reported Thursday that, in the first quarter, properties under property management fell by two units from the end of 2023 and by six units from the end of 2022, to 14.

Directly leased properties, on the other hand, decreased by two units compared to Dec. 31, 2023, and increased by 34 units compared to the end of 2022. The totlae balance shows a decline of four units on a quarterly basis and an increase of 28 units from the end of 2022.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed down 2.7 percent to 37,068.35, the Shanghai Composite gave up 0.3 percent to 3,065.26 and the Hang Seng is down 0.9 percent to 16,235.08.

In New York, the Dow closed Thursday up 0.1 percent to 37,775.38, the Nasdaq fell 0.5 percent to 15,601.50 and the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent to 5,011.12.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0646 from USD1.0663 on Thursday in closing European equities while the pound was worth USD1.2437 from USD1.2464 last night.

Among commodities, Brent crude is worth USD88.04 a barrel from USD87.16 a barrel last night and gold trades at USD16,235.08 an ounce from USD2,379.05 an ounce Thursday night.

Friday's macro calendar continues, at 1000 CEST, with Spain's trade balance coming two hours before Iberian consumer confidence.

In the U.S., eyes on Baker Hughes' U.S. drilling rig data, coming in at 1900 CEST.

Among the companies in Piazza Affari, the accounts of Convergenze, CSP International, Gismondi 1754 and Neurosoft are expected.

By Claudia Cavaliere, Alliance News reporter

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