(Alliance News) - European stocks continued to trade higher on Thursday, with investors awaiting the Bank of England's decision on interest rates, although the central bank is expected to keep rates steady at 5.25 percent, the highest in 16 years, and most economists polled by Reuters expect a cut in August after the July 4 election.

Data released on Wednesday showed that British inflation rose by an annual 2.0 percent in May, meeting the central bank's inflation target.

Also on the topic of central banks, the SNB -- the Swiss central bank -- cut its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent after a similar move at its previous meeting, in line with market expectations.

On the data front, producer prices in Germany fell 2.2 percent year-on-year in May, less than the previous month's 3.3 percent drop and compared to market expectations of a 2.0 percent drop. The data were released Thursday by Destatis.

The FTSE Mib is advancing 1.2 percent to 33,611.89 points, the Mid-Cap is advancing 1.3 percent to 47,438.14, the Small-Cap is advancing 1.0 percent to 28,981.70, while Italy Growth is marking a plus 0.4 percent to 8,145.46.

London's FTSE 100 is up 0.2%, Paris' CAC 40 is gaining 0.8% while Frankfurt's DAX 40 is up 0.7%.

On the blue chip list, Azimut is advancing well, moving ahead 2.6 percent after declining 1.7 percent on the eve of the meeting.

Sales of Stellantis - in the green by 1.2% - fell in Europe in May, in line with the negative trend in the performance of the European market, where registrations fell 3.0% year-on-year to 912,000 units, a sharp reversal from the previous month's 13.7% increase.

Banca BPER rises 1.6 percent, pricing in the EUR4.6 area after a 0.2 percent decline on the eve of the meeting.

Intesa, on the other hand, advances 0.7 percent to EUR3.48 per share. It should be noted that on the stock ODDO BHF has set a target price at EUR4.40 with an 'outperform' rating.

Leonardo - down 0.6% to EUR22.48 - announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its outright stake in Industria Italiana Autobus to Seri Industrial. Under the deal, Seri Industrial will take over 98% of the share capital while the remaining 2% will continue to be held by Invitalia, already a partner together with Leonardo in Industria Italiana Autobus.

On the Mid-Cap, Mondadori Editore advances 7.2%, with new price at EUR2.38 per share after two sessions closed with a bearish trend.

Strength also on Webuild, which moves ahead 3.1%, in position for the fourth session to end with a bullish candle.

For Moltiply Group, on the other hand, the asset is up 1.9 percent, rearing its head after two bearish sessions.

Iren - in the green with 1.6 percent - announced Wednesday that it has signed a new EUR200 million, 18-year, green-format credit line with the European Investment Bank, which will be used to support the group's sustainable investments in the 2023-2027 timeframe related to power grid resilience projects.

Sesa -- in the money with 2.6 percent -- reported Thursday that it closed the year to April 30 with consolidated revenues and other income of EUR3.21 billion from EUR2.90 billion in 2023 and marking a 10 percent growth.

On the Small- Cap, Seri Industrial moves ahead 4.1% to EUR3.99 per share, rebounding after two sessions in which it gave up more than 7%.

Boost also on Gabetti, which moves ahead 2.6% after eve's 6.8% decline.

Cairo Communication advances 4.1%, following eve's 1.0% red.

Among SMBs, Fervi pushes by moving up 4.6% to EUR15.90. The stock - which has been missing the ex-dividend since 2022 - on a weekly basis is marking a 6.4% loss.

Energy - up 2.0 percent to EUR1.50 - announced that it has finalized the acquisition of 90 percent of Enermore. The transaction was for cash on the basis of a final price resulting in EUR1.3 million.

On the backside, ATON Green is giving up 5.1 percent, subject to profit taking after closing with bullish candlestick the last the previous 12 sessions.

Among Asian exchanges, the Nikkei picked up 0.2 percent, the Shanghai Composite contracted 0.4 percent, and the Hang Seng gave up 0.5 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0726 from USD1.0748 on Wednesday in European equities closing while the pound was worth USD1.2702 from USD1.2728 on Wednesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude trades at USD85.21 per barrel from USD85.61 per barrel at Wednesday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,334.75 an ounce from USD2,327.10 last night.

Thursday's macroeconomic calendar includes the Bank of England decision at 1300 CEST. At 1600 CEST, Eurozone consumer confidence will be released.

At 1430 CEST, overseas, room for jobless claims and housing market data. At 1700 CEST, crude oil stocks and EIA refinery number data will be released. At 2230 CEST, the Federal Reserve's balance sheet will be released.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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