(Alliance News) - On Thursday, major European stock markets confirm expectations and open in negative territory, ahead of the release of PMI data in some of the most important Eurozone economies and the Bank of England's rate decision.

Thus, the FTSE Mib is in the red by 0.5 percent to 30,592.05, the Mid-Cap is in the red by 0.2 percent to 45,557.75, the Small-Cap gives up 0.1 percent to 27,730.63, while Italy Growth is in fractional green at 8,299.10.

In Europe, Paris' CAC 40 is in the red by 0.3 percent, London's FTSE 100 is in the fractional red, while Frankfurt's DAX 40 gives up 0.4 percent.

"U.S. markets also closed lower in what was a strong month, with the S&P500 posting its biggest daily decline since September, after the Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged, but was less dovish in the statement than expected, with Fed Chairman Jay Powell coming out against the idea of a rate cut in March during the subsequent press conference," commented Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

"As for the statement, the reference to possible further rate hikes was removed, while in its guidance the central bank said it did not believe a rate cut was appropriate until there is greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent. Powell addressed a varying number of questions during the press conference, but the one that most affected the markets was his statement that he thought a rate cut in March was unlikely, not the Fed's base case scenario, which sent yields down to the day's lows and sent stocks to the day's lows."

On the Mib, Telecom Italia takes the top spot on the list and rises 1.7 percent, after making it known that it has received an offer from the Ministry of Economy and Finance to buy Sparkle.

In the offer, "reference is also made to the possibility of negotiating a different option, with possible adjustments to the contractual conditions, in the event TIM maintains a minority stake for a specific time frame and supports the implementation of the strategic plan," according to the note released.

The offer will be effective for 15 days and will be submitted for consideration by TIM's board of directors scheduled for Feb. 7.

Banco BPM also does well, rising 0.4 percent along with Inwit, which closes the podium.

Generali gives up 0.2 percent at the open, a day after announcing that it has completed the acquisition of Liberty Seguros, Compañia de Seguros y Reaseguros, S.A., a Spanish insurance company operating in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, from Liberty Mutual. The transaction was announced on June 15, 2023.

Eni - in the green by 0.2 percent - announced Wednesday the completion of its acquisition of Neptune Energy Group Limited.

The transaction includes Neptune's entire portfolio with the exception of its activities in Norway-acquired at the same time by Vår Energi a company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in which Eni holds 63 percent-and in Germany, which were spun off.

Interpump Group gives up 0.3 percent, after announcing Wednesday the finalization of an agreement with PGIM Inc. for a USD300 million note purchase and private shelf agreement and the simultaneous issuance of an initial bond for EUR100 million from that amount, privately placed in the forms of a U.S. Private Placement.

On the Mid-Cap, Juventus Football Club - in fractional green at EUR2.25 per share - announced that it has reached an agreement with Southampton Football Club for the acquisition, on a temporary basis until June 30, 2024, of the right to the sports performance of the player Carlos Jonas Alcaraz Duran for a consideration of EUR3.7 million, plus ancillary charges of EUR200,000, which may be increased by an amount not exceeding EUR1.9 million upon the achievement of certain sporting objectives.

OVS--up 3.4 percent--reported Wednesday that full-year 2023 sales grew by about 1.4 percent, an increase that occurred mainly on a like-for-like basis.

The second half of the year, contrary to general concerns about consumption trends, compounded by an abnormal continuation of summer temperatures, also saw sales hold up with the last quarter growing.

MFE-MediaForEurope--A shares in the red 0.5 percent, B shares down 0.7 percent--reported on Wednesday that Mediaset's advertising revenues in Italy in 2023 grew 2.1 percent over 2022.

On the Small-Cap, Safilo Group gives up 1.3% after it reported preliminary net sales of EUR238.7 million in the last quarter of 2023 from EUR245.4 million in the same period of 2022, representing growth of 1.7% at constant exchange rates and a decline of 2.7% at current exchange rates, and 3.3% net of sales in the former GrandVision chains. For the full year, preliminary net sales amount to EUR1.02 billion down from EUR1.08 billion in 2022.

Elica - flat at EUR2.32 per share - announced Tuesday that it has signed a partnership with the Ducati racing team ahead of the start of the 2024 MotoGP world championship.

Biesse - up 0.2 percent - on Monday announced that as the conditions precedent stipulated in the acquisition agreement had been fulfilled, the acquisition of the entire share capital of GMM Finance Srl, the holding company at the head of the GMM Group to which GMM Spa, Bavelloni Spa and Techni Waterjet Ltd, as well as their respective Italian and foreign subsidiaries, active in the sectors of machine tools for processing stone, glass and other materials, belonged.

Among SMEs, SG Co rises more than 12 percent after announcing Thursday that it has approved its new hydustrial plan to 2026.

Economic-financial targets report sales of EUR50.3 million, Ebitda of EUR4.2 million, and an NFP/Ebitda ratio of less than 3.0x.

NVP rises 8.4 percent after announcing Thursday that it reported consolidated revenues in 2023 up 51 percent to EUR26.7 million from EUR17.7 million in 2022.

Sia - in the red by 1.4 percent - announced Wednesday the start of a rebranding journey that, it points out in a note, reflects "dedication to innovation, excellence and continuous evolution." That journey will involve the brand's visual image, logo, website in the works, and the image with which La Sia is present on social media.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed in the red 0.8 percent to 36,011.46, while the Hang Seng was in the green 0.5 percent to 15,566.21 and the Shanghai Composite gave up 0.6 percent to 2,770.74.

In New York on Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed in the red 0.8 percent to 38,150.30, the S&P finished down 1.6 percent to 4,845.65, and the Nasdaq closed down 2.2 percent to 15,164.01.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0787 against USD1.0854 recorded in Tuesday's European equities close while the pound was worth USD1.2649 from USD1.2729 on Tuesday evening.

Brent crude is worth USD80.27 per barrel versus USD80.68 per barrel at Tuesday's close. Gold, meanwhile, trades at USD2,057.90 an ounce from USD2,050.86 an ounce on Tuesday evening.

On Thursday's calendar, Italy's manufacturing PMI will arrive at 0945 CET, followed by Germany's and the Eurozone PMI at 1000 CET.

At 1100 CET, Italy's inflation figure is scheduled to arrive from Italy, concurrently with the Eurozone's, from where the unemployment figure will also arrive.

At 1300 CET, the BoE will announce its interest rate decision.

At 1430 CET, from the U.S., coming in at 1430 CET are the unemployment benefit claims, while at 1445 CET is a speech by ECB number one Christine Lagarde. At 1600 CET, the US ISM manufacturing index will be published, while at 2230 CET it will be the turn of the Fed's weekly balance sheet release.

On the corporate calendar, Geox's results are expected.

By Claudia Cavaliere, Alliance News reporter

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