(Alliance News) - Major European indexes are headed for an opening near parity on Wednesday as investors continue to assess the outlook for interest rates globally.

In the UK, the Office for National Statistics reported in the morning that the annual inflation rate fell to 2.3 percent in April, the lowest since July 2021, down from 3.2 percent in March but less than the market forecast of 2.1 percent.

The latest figure is close to the Bank of England's target rate, while policymakers have indicated they would be willing to cut rates in the summer, depending on incoming data. Investors now await the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting to better guide the outlook for U.S. rates.

Thus, the FTSE Mib is expected to be in the fractional red after closing down 0.6 percent at 34,603.61.

In Europe, Paris' CAC 40 is expected to be just above par, London's FTSE 100 is down 0.4 percent, and Frankfurt's DAX 40 is in fractional green.

Among Italy's smaller listings Tuesday evening, the Mid-Cap gave up 0.4 percent to 47,738.91, the Small-Cap lost 0.9 percent to 29,021.52 while Italy Growth closed in the green 0.1 percent to 8,244.73.

On the Mib, Saipem, among the very few bullish performers, did better than all by advancing 4.0% after announcing Tuesday that it has been awarded three new contracts by TotalEnergies EP Angola Block 20 subsidiary TotalEnergies for the Kaminho project related to the development of the Cameia and Golfinho oil fields, located about 100 kilometers off the coast of Angola. The total amount of the contracts is EUR3.7 billion.

Good session also for Unipol, which closed in the green by 1.6 percent at EUR9.15 per share. Of note, Berenberg on Monday raised its target price to EUR11.50 from EUR8.00 with a 'buy' recommendation.

Assicurazioni Generali is among the bearish giving up 1.6 percent after announcing Tuesday that it closed the first quarter with a net profit of EUR1.26 billion, up from EUR1.20 billion as of March 31, 2023. The group's gross premiums rose 21 percent to EUR26.4 billion from EUR22.16 billion, driven by strong performance in both life and non-life segments.

STMicrolectronics, on the other hand, closed down 2.7 percent. Of note, Barclays, UBS and Goldman Sachs cut their target prices on the stock.

Amplifon, on the other hand, gave up 4.0%, after a 0.5% green light on the eve.

In the cadet segment, Fincantieri -- in the green by 0.3 percent to EUR0.60 per share -- announced Monday that it had signed an agreement with Edge, one of the world's leading advanced technology and defense groups, formalizing the launch of Maestral, the joint venture created between the two companies in the Abu Dhabi-based shipbuilding business. The signing of the agreement was followed by the announcement of a major order for 10 technologically advanced 51-meter OPV offshore patrol vessels by the UAE Coast Guard Forces, worth EUR400 million.

d'Amico is advancing 1.3 percent to EUR7.01 per share, in its third bullish session.

Acea Ambiente, a subsidiary of Acea - in the red by 0.5 percent - submitted a bid by the deadline for the call for tenders published by Roma Capitale for the award of the concession of the plant hub relating to the design, authorization for operation, construction and management of a waste-to-energy plant and related ancillary plant engineering.

Caltagirone, on the other hand, closed down 3.0 percent, following the 0.7 percent bearish candle on the eve.

On the Small-Cap, EEMS Italia closed up 19 percent, with the stock halted several times in volatility auctions. The company announced Monday that the board of directors has taken note of the resignation of Giuseppe De Giovanni from his position as director and chief executive officer of the company and from all positions held within EEMS group companies effective today for personal reasons. Stefano Modena was then appointed as the company's new chief executive officer.

Boost also on Fidia, which closed bullish by 9.3 percent after a 1.2 percent decline in the previous session.

CY4Gate, on the other hand, advanced 3.5 percent, rearing its head again after four sessions among the bearish. The company announced Tuesday that it has been awarded three international research calls under the European Defense Fund and Digital Europe Program worth a total of about EUR1.7 million over three years from 2025, boosting the group's backlog.

Biesse closed down 2.0 percent. Citadel Advisors limned short position on Biesse to 0.6% from 0.59% previously.

Banca Sistema gave up 0.9%. On Monday it announced that it had approved its three-year strategic plan through 2026. Among targets, expected net interest and other banking income CAGR 23-26 up 12.9%. As for cost/income ratios, the estimate is for 61 percent in 2023 to rise to 57 percent in 2026.

Among SMEs, Eprcomunication rose over 14 percent after reporting Monday that Justbit, the group's digital factory, received news of a new assignment. Specifically, Justbit has been contracted by a public company to manage advertising services and carry out communication support activities for the duration of nine months and in the amount of EUR125,000.00 plus VAT in 2024 and EUR17,000 plus VAT in the first part of 2025.

Bellini Nautica, on the other hand, rallied 4.9 percent, following up on the 1.9 percent green on the eve.

ICF Group closed flat at EUR4.90 per share, after announcing Monday the launch of a new buyback plan for a maximum of 1 million shares and a total value of EUR8 million.

In contrast, iVision rallied 0.7 percent to EUR1.41 per share, after closing in the green by 7.7 percent. The company reported that its board of directors approved the issuance of two bonds with a total countervalue of EUR7.0 million.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed in the red by 0.8 percent, the Hang Seng was in the green by 0.2 percent, and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.1 percent.

In New York on Friday, the Dow closed up 0.2% at 19,277.54, the Nasdaq rose 0.2% to 16,832.63, and the S&P gained 0.3% to 5,321.41.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0857 from USD1.0855 in Tuesday's European stock close while the pound was worth USD1.2749 from USD1.2711 Tuesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is trading at USD82.31 per barrel from USD82.44 per barrel Tuesday night. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,415.77 an ounce from USD2,421.50 an ounce Tuesday night.

Among Wednesday's economic data, a speech by ECB number one Christine Lagarde is scheduled at 1000 CEST.

From the US, at 1300 CEST will come the mortgage market report, and at 1600 CEST the report on existing home sales, followed half an hour later by crude oil stocks, the EIA report and the Cushing inventory.

Finally, at 2000 CEST, the minutes of the FOMC meeting will be released.

On the corporate calendar, coming up are the results of Bertolotti, DHH and MFE-MediaForEurope.

By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter

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