(Alliance News) - On Thursday, major European stock markets trade in negative territory, except for Paris, ahead of the European Central Bank's rate decision.

Thus, the FTSE Mib is in the red 0.6 percent to 33,865.91, as is the Mid-Cap to 47,016.86, the Small-Cap is down 0.2 percent to 28,463.99, while Italy Growth is in the green 0.2 percent to 8,147.70.

In Europe, Paris' CAC 40 is in the red green by 0.1 percent, London's FTSE 100 is down 0.1 percent, and Frankfurt's DAX 40 is in the red by 0.4 percent.

In macroeconomic news, Italy's seasonally adjusted industrial production rose in February compared with January on a monthly basis, while in the average of the last three months it declined when compared with the previous three months, Istat explained in a preliminary estimate released Thursday.

In detail, the Italian Statistical Institute in February estimates that the seasonally adjusted index of industrial production increased by 0.1 percent, less than FxStreet's expectations of plus 0.5 percent, but an improvement over January's 1.4 percent decline.

On a year-over-year basis, the industrial production index, while remaining in negative territory, came in at 3.1 percent in February from a 3.7 percent decline in January, continuing a 13-month downtrend.

On the Mib, as at the opening, the oil sector remains in the black, with Eni at the top, up 1.7 percent.

ERG follows, up 1.6 percent. The company reported that rating agency Fitch Ratings 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.

Also up is Saipem, in the green by 0.8 percent, as is Italgas.

Interpump Group is in the green by 0.8 percent after announcing Tuesday that it has acquired, through its subsidiary Inoxpa SAU, a 60 percent stake in Process Partners China and increased its stake to 60 percent in YRP Shanghai Flow Tecnology, both entities operating in China.

The total price of the two transactions was EUR2.9 million.

Together, the two realities generated revenues of nearly EUR11m in 2023, with an Ebitda margin of about 10 percent and a positive NFP.

Stellantis is in the red by 0.4 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.

At the bottom remains Iveco Group, down 3.4 percent, preceded by Recordati, down 2.4 percent.

On the Mid-Cap, Fincantieri gives up 0.9 percent after reporting that it has received an order to build four new 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.

Anima Holding--down 0.5 percent--reported Monday that it posted negative inflows of EUR94 million in March, bringing its total since the beginning of the year to a negative EUR867 million.

d'Amico International Shipping is up 2.5 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 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.

Among smallcaps, Fidia advanced 20 percent after reporting Wednesday that it closed fiscal 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.

Safilo Group - up 6.0 percent - and Marc Jacobs announced Wednesday that they have early renewed their multi-year global license agreement for Marc Jacobs eyewear collections through December 2031.

TXT e-solutions -- flat at EUR22.60 per share -- announced Tuesday that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Azimut Direct, a fintech company of the Azimut Group -- in the red 0.1 percent on the Mib -- that specializes in direct lending, minibonds and private equity.

Among SMEs, EdiliziAcrobatica climbs more than 10 percent after reporting Thursday 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 sharp growth in the number of customers, registering a year-on-year increase of 92 percent.

Planetel rises 2.0 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, the Dow Jones closed 1.1 percent in the red, the S&P lost 1.0 percent, and the Nasdaq gave up 0.8 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0732 from USD1.0747 on Wednesday in European equities closing while the pound was worth USD1.2543 from USD1.2553 on Wednesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is worth USD90.70 a barrel from USD89.92 Tuesday evening and gold trades at USD2,349.20 from USD2,325.91 Tuesday evening.

Thursday's macroeconomic calendar includes OPEC's monthly report, at 1300 CET, before the European Central Bank's decision, coming at 1415 CET, on monetary policy. Half an hour later, the Frankfurt institution's number one, Christine Lagarde, will hold a press conference.

At 1430 CET, focus on industrial producer prices in the U.S. and jobless claims before the day closes with the Federal Reserve's balance sheet, arriving at 2230 CET.

By Claudia Cavaliere, Alliance News reporter

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