(Alliance News) - European stock markets are headed for a bullish opening Friday -- on the heels of other world stock markets -- thanks to a strong rally in technology stocks and the firm expectation that major central banks will move toward an interest rate cut starting this year.

Indeed, investors are waiting for Eurozone inflation and unemployment data, due today, to assess the health of the economic bloc, as well as to try to better understand future monetary policy moves from the Eurotower.

The FTSE Mib, therefore, advances 217.50 points, after closing 0.1 percent in the red at 32,580.94 last night.

Paris' CAC 40 advances 22.60 points, Frankfurt's DAX 40 advances 74.90 while London's FTSE 100 advances 49.90 points.

Among the smaller listings last night, the Mid-Cap gave up 0.3 percent to 45,580.05, the Small-Cap finished down 0.2 percent to 27,969.21 and Italy Growth closed 0.3 percent in the red to 8,222.14.

On the Mib, results rewarded Saipem, Poste Italiane and Prysmian.

The oil company ended the session on top with a gain of more than 13 percent after announcing Wednesday that it had returned to profit in 2023, closing the year to Dec. 31 at EUR179 million from a loss of EUR209 million in 2022. The board of directors said it has approved a dividend policy to return to dividend in 2025, based on expected results in 2024.

The board of Poste Italiane -- in the green by 3.1 percent -- on Thursday released its preliminary consolidated results for fiscal year 2023,which closed with a net profit of EUR1.93 billion compared to EUR1.58 billion a year earlier. The board also raised the prospect of distributing 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.

Prysmian closed up 2.6 percent after reporting Thursday that it ended 2023 with net income up 5.0 percent year-on-year to EUR529 million from EUR504 million in 2022.

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

Also among the day's best stocks was Moncler, which advanced 5.0 percent. On the luxury stock, UBS, RBC, JP Morgan and Jefferies raised their target prices on Thursday.

Poorly, Amplifon,Tenaris, Stellatins and Eni closed down between 0.9% and 1.1%.

On the Mid-Cap, the board of directors of Lottomatica Group-which ends at the bottom in the red by 3.5 percent-on Thursday reviewed the draft consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2023, which closed with an adjusted net profit of EUR215.9 million, up 29 percent from the 2022 pro forma. In contrast, the reported figure was EUR68 million from EUR72 million in 2022.

The board resolved to propose to the shareholders' meeting the payment of a dividend of EUR0.26 per ordinary share. Taking into account the shares issued as of the current date, this is equivalent to a distribution of EUR65.4 million, representing a 30 percent pay-out of adjusted net income.

Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi of Bologna announced Wednesday that Sonia Bonfiglioli had submitted her resignation as an independent, nonexecutive director due to "disagreement on the possible effects of the profit distribution policy being discussed, having verified the impossibility of finding a synthesis between the different positions."

Worse did only Seco, down 4.5 percent.

Italmobiliare, however, closed on top with a gain of 5.0 percent. The company announced that it will sell its 32 percent stake in AGN Energia, realizing EUR100 million from the sale.

This is 20 percent higher than AGN Energia's last net asset value valuation, resulting in a capital gain of about EUR40 million and a money-on-money return of 1.8 times for Italmobiliare, which had entered Autogas Nord in 2018, before the latter took over Lampogas, creating AGN Energia.

On the Small-Cap, Digital Bros - up 1.7 percent - reported 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.

Biesse--in the red by 2.6 percent--reported Wednesday that the board approved the 2024-2026 business plan, forecasting average annual revenue growth of between 2 percent and 4 percent over the plan period. Ebitda margin is expected between 8% and 10% while Ebit margin is expected between 4% and 5%. Capex in plan arc will be EUR150 million.

Sogefi advances 6.9% after gaining 70% in the last month. Over the past year, it has posted triple-digit gains.

Among SMEs, Generalfinance closed down 1.0 percent after announcing that it had signed an amendment to the existing four-year agreement with Banca Cassa di Risparmio di Savigliano, signed on June 16, 2023, aimed at the recession of tax credits related to the Superbonus, for a tax value increased from EUR10 million to EUR15 million.

Relatech finished 1.7 percent in the red after reporting Thursday that it ended 2023 with revenues of EUR91 million compared to EUR61 million-or EUR92 million pro forma-in 2022.

The outward component of 2023 is about EUR26 million, up about 45 percent on the consolidated figures and 7 percent on the pro forma figures for 2022.

H-Farm finished the session up 27%.The stock is up 20% in the last month, but has given up 31% in the last six months and 34% in the last year.

In New York last night, the Dow Jones closed down 0.1 percent, the S&P in the green by 0.5 percent, and the Nasdaq picked up 0.9 percent.

Among the Asian exchanges, the Nikkei rallied 1.9 percent, the Hang Seng marks a 0.6 percent rise, while the Shanghai Composite marks a 0.4 percent green.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0809 against USD1.0808 recorded in Thursday's European stock close, while the pound is worth USD1.2632 from USD1.2635 last night.

Brent crude is worth USD82.24 per barrel versus USD83.73 per barrel at Thursday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,047.51 an ounce from USD2,045.87 an ounce Thursday evening.

Thursday's calendar includes between 0945 CET and 0955 are expected the French, German, Italian and Eurozone manufacturing PMI indices while Italy's monthly unemployment rate is due at 1000 CET, followed at 1030 CET by the UK PMI.

At 1100 Italian February and Eurozone inflation is expected, along with the unemployment rate.

In the afternoon, the US manufacturing PMI will come out at 1545 CET followed by the ISM index at 1600 CET.

In Piazza Affari, the results of Networks, Spindox and Tweppy will come out.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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