(Alliance News) - On Wednesday, major European stock markets continue trading in positive territory as the release of U.S. inflation gets closer.

Thus, the FTSE Mib is in the green by 0.7 percent to 34,148.29, the Mid-Cap is in the green by 0.1 percent to 47,532.96, the Small-Cap rises 0.9 percent to 28,587.97, while Italy Growth is in the green by 0.1 percent to 8,156.84.

In Europe, Paris' CAC 40 is in the green by 0.5 percent, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.6 percent, and Frankfurt's DAX 40 is up 0.7 percent.

In macroeconomic news, retail sales in Italy returned to growth on a monthly basis in February while accelerating the pace of increase on a year-over-year basis, Istat reported Wednesday.

Italy's retail sales rose 0.1 percent on a monthly basis in February after January's flat figure was revised upward from the initial 0.1 percent decline.

On a year-over-year basis, February's 2.4 percent increase followed a 1.0 percent increase--unrevised--in the previous month.

Also in Italy, inFebruary, loans to the private sector in Italy fell 2.5 percent over the 12 months from the previous month's 2.6 percent decline, the Bank of Italy reported Wednesday.

Loans to households declined 1.3 percent over the 12 months-as in the previous month-while loans to nonfinancial corporations fell 3.8 percent after a 3.9 percent decline in the previous month. Private sector deposits fell 1.2% over the 12 months from January's 2.0% decline; bond deposits rose 18% from January's 21% increase.

On the Mib, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena still does best of all, up 3.1%, followed by Unipol, up 1.7%, and STMicroelectronics, up 1.6%.

ERG is also up, up 0.5 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.

Snam is up 0.5 percent. The company announced Monday that it has completed the issuance of a EUR750 million floating-rate bond, two-year maturity and papri coupon at three-month Euribor plus 0.4 percent.

The company explained that the transaction is part of a strategy to optimize the cost of debt, which is expected to average 2.6 percent over the plan period.

Among the bearers are Iveco Group, which sits at the bottom, giving up 1.7 percent, preceded by Amplifon and Italgas, in the red by 1.6 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Banca Generali - in the green by 0.2 percent - reported Monday that it recorded net inflows of EUR600 million, bringing its total since the beginning of the year to EUR1.65 billion.

The flow mix in the quarter improved markedly thanks to a strong increase in demand for investment products and services that rose to EUR651 million in the period from EUR109 million in January-March last year.

On the cadet segment, Fincantieri gives up 1.9 percent after rising 3.9 percent Tuesday 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.

Anima Holding - in the green by 1.2 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.

Among smallcaps, Itway gives up 0.1 percent after it announced Monday that its board of directors has appointed Massimo Fanelli as co-general manager with powers of ordinary administration.

Fanelli has served as deputy general manager since November 2022.

TXT e-solutions - in the green by 1.6 percent - disclosed Tuesday that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Azimut Direct, a fintech company of the Azimut Group - up 0.3 percent on the Mib - that specializes in direct lending, minibonds and private equity.

Autostrade Meridionali - flat at EUR14.76 per share - on Monday reported results for the first quarter of the year, in which revenues fell to EUR59,000 from EUR140,000 as of March 31, 2023.

Unidata rises 1.1 percent. The company announced Tuesday that it has signed a contract for Acquedotto Lucano to carry out interventions aimed at reducing losses in water distribution networks, including digitization and monitoring of networks.

Among SMEs, Growens -- in the green by 1.3 percent -- reported on Wednesday first-quarter sales figures for its CPaaS line of business and annual recurring revenues for its SaaS line in March.

In detail, for the SaaS line there was annual recurring revenue of EUR12.1 million in March from EUR10.0 million in 2023, up 20 percent.

For the CPaaS line of business there was a 5.1 percent decrease in Q1 2024 from Q1 2023.

CrowdFundMe--flat at EUR2.10 per share--reported Tuesday that it had revenues of EUR530,000 in the first quarter compared to EUR345,931 in the same period a year earlier, an increase of 53%.

Emma Villas rises 4.0 percent after announcing that it has finalized the acquisition of 100 percent of Marche Holiday Villas, a newly formed company into which Marche Holiday's property rental business for tourism purposes was contributed, specializing in rentals of vacation homes, villas with swimming pools and apartments in the Marche region and central Italy.

Comal is flat at EUR3.70 per share after it announced that it has signed two contracts worth a total of EUR41.5 million with a leading foreign energy investor for the turnkey supply on an EPC-M formula of a photovoltaic plant and connection to another plant in southern Italy. The first contract also includes the supply of Comal's "Sun Hunter" tracker.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed in the red 0.5 percent to 39,581.81, the Hang Seng finished in the green 1.9 percent to 17,139.17, and the Shanghai Composite gave up 0.7 percent to 3,027.34.

In New York on Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed fractionally in the red at 38,883.67, the S&P finished up 0.1 percent at 5,209.91, and the Nasdaq closed in the green by 0.3 percent at 16,306.64.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0862 from USD1.0857 on Tuesday in closing European equities while the pound was worth USD1.2692 from USD1.2668 on Tuesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is worth USD89.68 a barrel from USD89.87 Tuesday evening and gold trades at USD2,367.90 from USD2,364.25 Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday's economic calendar, at 1300 CEST, data on the U.S. 30-year MBA mortgage rate is expected. At 1430 CEST, US inflation is released.

By Claudia Cavaliere, Alliance News reporter

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