(Alliance News) - On Friday, major European stock markets closed in positive territory with Milan trailing the other stock markets, at the end of a week in which risk sentiment drove several global stock indexes to all-time highs, and the first day of March was no exception.

Thus, the FTSE Mib closes in the green by 1.1 percent at 32,934.29, the Mid-Cap gains 0.4 percent to 45,775.58, the Small-Cap rises 0.3 percent to 28,044.75, and Italy Growth ends down 0.4 percent at 8,193.18.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 ends in the green by 0.7 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 40 rises 0.3 percent, and Paris' CAC 40 is on the parity threshold.

"China's higher-than-expected factory growth, even though the manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month, did not dent investors' mood, and the country's stock indexes continued their recovery, with Japan's Nikkei 225 briefly breaking through the psychological barrier of 40.00 and several European and U.S. indexes hitting all-time highs, while the DAX 40 reached its sixth consecutive daily high, as investors continue to prefer investing in Europe's largest economy. This was despite Eurozone inflation remaining above the 3 percent threshold for core inflation, with CPI above expectations," commented Axel Rudolph, senior market analyst at IG.

"Crude oil prices rose about 2 percent on Friday, while the Gaza ceasefire remains far off. The price of gold also had a good week thanks to safe-haven flight flows following a speech by Putin in which he talked about Russian nuclear weapons capable of hitting Western targets and the fact that China, the world's second largest importer, continues to buy the precious metal, according to a Reuters article."

On the Mib, Saipem does best of all, in the green by 8.4 percent. Preceded by Iveco, in the green by 5.2 percent, and Poste Italiane, up 4.1 percent.

Poste's board of directors on Thursday released preliminary consolidated results for fiscal year 2023,closed with a net profit of EUR1.93 billion compared to EUR1.58 billion a year earlier.

The board also proposed the distribution of a dividend of EUR0.80 per share, bringing the total amount of dividends to EUR1.00 for 2023, a growth delta of 23 percent from EUR0.65 paid a year earlier.

The company also announced that the board has appointed Giuseppe Lasco as its new chief executive officer.

Leonardo - in the green by 2.5 percent - on Thursday reported that it ended 2023 with revenues of EUR15.30 billion, up 3.9 percent from EUR14.71 billion as of December 31, 2022, and in line with guidance, according to preliminary results.

Order backlog stands at EUR39.53 billion from EUR37.51 billion as of Dec. 31, 2022.

Among the bearish performers, Mediobanca is in the red by 0.2 percent after it announced Thursday that it had ended its share buyback program after purchasing 17 million shares, or 2 percent of its share capital, for a total value of EUR198 million.

At the bottom is A2A, down 0.6 percent, preceded by DiaSorin, down 0.5 percent, and Prysmian, in the red by 0.1 percent.

The latter reported Thursday that it ended 2023 with net income up 5.0% year-on-year to EUR529 million from EUR504 million in 2022.

Revenues fell slightly, by 1.1 percent to EUR15.35 billion from EUR16.07 billion.

On the cadet segment, MARR climbs 0.2% after announcing Thursday that, according to data in its pre-final financial statements, revenues for 2023 will amount to EUR2.09 billion from EUR1.93 billion in 2022, exceeding "for the first time in its history" EUR2.00 billion.

De' Longhi - up 1.5 percent - reported that it has finalized the business combination between its subsidiary Eversys and La Marzocco International.

The deal creates a leading hub in the premium segment of the coffee sector with aggreated 2023 sales of EUR370 million and in which De' Longhi will hold 61.6 percent. De' Longhi Industrial will hold 26.5 percent and the remainder will be held by minority shareholders of La Marzocco.

Among the smallcaps, Biesse gives up 2.9 percent after announcing on Friday its estimates for consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2023. Revenues are estimated at about EUR785 million and Ebitda is expected at about EUR77 million with a 9.8 percent margin on sales.

Digital Bros -- down 0.9 percent -- announced Wednesday that subsidiary 505 Games has signed an agreement with Remedy Entertainment to sell publishing, distribution and marketing rights related to the Control saga video games.

The payout amounts to a minimum of EUR15.7 million with a potential minimum margin, an amount corresponding to the investments made by 505 Games as of today's date for the development of Condor and Control 2.

Mondo TV gives up 1.6 percent after announcing Friday that the animated series Agent 203 will be launched on Rai Gulp on March 12, with daily programming in the evening primetime hours.

The launch on the RaiPlay platform is scheduled for an exclusive premiere on March 8.

CY4Gate gives up 5.2 percent after reporting Friday that it purchased 194,740 of its own ordinary shares in February for a total consideration of EUR1.2 million.

With these purchases, it ended the buyback program that started in August last year, which led the company to buy back 450,000 of its own shares, or 1.9 percent of its capital, shelling out EUR3.2 million.

Among SMEs, Innovatec--green by 0.2 percent--reported Friday that it had finalized the acquisition of 50.1 percent of Green LuxCo Capital.

Green LuxCo Capital is an investment holding company under Luxembourg law that holds 70 percent of the share capital of Ecosavona, a company active in the treatment, disposal and recovery of urban and special non-hazardous waste, as well as in the energy recovery of landfill biogas.

Pozzi Milano drops 2.9% the day after it reported revenues of EUR18.2 million in 2023, down 9.0% from EUR20.0 million in 2022.

In FY2023, Pozzi Milano performed well, especially internationally, recording about 77 percent of revenues abroad, the company explained in a note.

In New York, the Dow is in the green 0.1 percent to 39,048.60, the Nasdaq gains 0.6 percent to 16,194.87, and the S&P 500 is up 0.4 percent to 5,118.33.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0833 against USD1.0808 recorded at Thursday's European stock close, while the pound is worth USD1.2651 from USD1.2635 last night.

Brent crude is worth USD83.91 per barrel versus USD83.73 per barrel at Thursday's close. Gold, meanwhile, trades at USD2,082.95 an ounce from USD2,045.87 an ounce on Thursday evening.

Monday's macroeconomic calendar opens at 0830 CET with Switzerland's inflation data, at 0845 CET it is the turn of the French government's budget, while at 0900 CET there is the change in Spain's unemployment rate.

At 1000 CET the Sentix index of investor confidence is expected.

On the bond front, French BTF auctions with 3-, 6-, and 12-month maturities are expected at 1455 CET, while from overseas at 1730 CET it is the turn of the US Treasury bond auctions with 3- and 6-month maturities.

Among the companies listed in Piazza Affari, the results of Health Italia and Piaggio & C. are expected.

By Claudia Cavaliere, Alliance News reporter

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