(Alliance News) - Piazza Affari closed higher on Thursday, a day marked by the Bank of England's decision to leave rates unchanged but open the door to a cut in the summer.

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted by a 7-2 majority to confirm the bank rate at 5.25 percent. Two members preferred to reduce the interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 5 percent.

The Activity and Inflation Committee's updated projections are reported in the accompanying May Monetary Policy Report and are conditional on a path of reduction in the bank rate from 5.25 percent to 3.75 percent by the end of the forecast period, down from an end point of 3.25 percent in February.

The FTSE Mib closed Thursday up 0.6 percent to 34,339.32, the Mid-Cap fell 0.1 percent to 48,002.08, the Small-Cap rose 0.2 percent to 29,481.00, and Italy Growth gained 0.1 percent to 8,243.40.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 closed up 0.3 percent, Paris' CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent and Frankfurt's DAX 40 gained 1.1 percent.

Nexi did best of all on Thursday, rising 6.4 percent after closing the first quarter with revenues up 6.0 percent to EUR781.6 million from EUR737.6 million reported as of March 31, 2023.

Ebitda was EUR361.7 million, up 8.6 percent from EUR333.1 million in the first three months of 2023. Ebitda margin reached 46 percent, up 112 basis points from the first quarter a year earlier, "partly due to the faster realization of efficiencies and cost synergies in light of the group integration," the company said.

For 2024, in light of a persistent complex macroeconomic scenario, Nexi confirmed year-on-year targets: revenues with mid-single digit growth; Ebitda with mid-to-high single digit growth, with a margin expansion of more than 100 basis points; excess cash generation at more than EUR700 million; net financial leverage decreasing below 2.9 times Ebitda, including already announced M&A and the effects of the share buyback program.

Well then Prysmian, up 3.8%, after reporting that it closed the first quarter with group net income of EUR185 million from EUR182 million in the same period a year earlier.

Revenues amounted to EUR3.69 billion from EUR3.99 billion in the first quarter of 2023.

For fiscal year 2024, Prysmian confirmed the annual guidance announced in February, expecting to position itself at the top end: adjusted Ebitda in the range of EUR1.58 billion and EUR1.68 billion, free cash flow in the range of EUR675-775 million, and Scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emission reductions of 36 percent and Scope 3 of 13 percent vs. 2019.

On the bottom, banks, with BPER and BPM down 3.0% and 1.4%, respectively, while Recordati also closed in the red, down 1.7%. The company reported Thursday that it closed the first quarter with revenues up 10% year-on-year to EUR607.8 million from EUR551.4 million in the same period a year earlier.

Gross profit rose 7.2 percent to EUR415.6 million from EUR387.7 million and Ebitda rose 11 percent to EUR244.0 million from EUR220.8 million a year earlier, with Ebit increased to EUR186.9 million from EUR172.6 million.

Earnings before taxes rose to EUR161.1 million from EUR159.9 million and net income fell to EUR123.6 million from EUR124.0 million. Net income per share fell to EUR0.599 from EUR0.603.

Among midcaps, Cementir Holding closed up 1.0 percent Thursday after reporting first-quarter pretax profit of EUR58.7 million from EUR63.9 million as of March 31, 2023.

Sales revenue stood at EUR368.3 million from EUR414.8 million in last year's first quarter.

Piaggio rose 0.4 percent after reporting that it ended the first quarter with a net profit of EUR18.7 million compared to EUR24.1 million in the same period last year. The group's consolidated net revenues were EUR428 million from EUR543.9 million as of March 31, 2023.

Technogym -- on the day it confirmed Nerio Alessandri as CEO -- gained 0.9 percent after reporting first-quarter revenues of EUR187.5 million, up 7.4 percent from EUR174.6 million in the same period of 2023.

"It is important to note that the growth is global," the company explained, "with revenues increasing across almost all major geographies, particularly in the Middle East and North America.

Carel Industries lost 7.0 percent after reporting that consolidated revenues amounted to EUR146.4 million compared to EUR161.0 million as of March 31, 2023, down 9.0 percent.

Excluding the scope change related to the consolidation of Kiona and Eurotec of EUR7.3 million and the marginal negative foreign exchange effect, the decline would have been 13%.

Among the smallcaps, Elica - up 1.3 percent - approved its results for the first quarter of 2024, closing with a substantially breakeven result, compared to a profit of EUR3.9 million as of March 31, 2023.

Revenues were EUR117.2 million, down 9.2 percent from the same period last year. Normalized Ebitda was EUR7.6 million, compared to EUR12.6 million in the same period last year. The margin on revenues was 6.5 percent from 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

On the SME side, Civitanavi Systems gained 0.3% after reporting that it ended the first quarter with operating revenues net of PF and SL var Inventories of EUR6.62 million from EUR6.63 million as of March 31, 2023.

Operating revenues for the period amounted to EUR7.2 million from EUR8.0 million in last year's first quarter.

Valtecne -- down 3.3 percent -- reported Thursday that it ended the first quarter with revenues of EUR8.4 million from EUR8.3 million in the same period a year earlier.

Paolo Mainetti, chief executive officer of Valtecne, commented, "This slight growth was accompanied by a significant shift in our business mix: the medical sector continued its positive trend, growing by 16 percent to account for about two-thirds of our total revenues, while the industrial sector contracted by 20 percent, consistent with current European macroeconomic conditions."

In New York, the Dow is up 0.5 percent to 39,240.32, the Nasdaq is gaining 0.2 percent to 16,336.64 and the S&P 500 is up 0.4 percent to 5,205.78.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0776 from USD1.0748 on Wednesday in closing European equities while the pound is worth USD1.2514 from USD1.2495 on Wednesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is trading at USD84.33 per barrel from USD83.31 per barrel on Wednesday. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,312.69 an ounce from USD2,317.24 an ounce on Wednesday evening.

Friday's macroeconomic calendar opens with the Japanese current account, due at 0150 CEST, while British Gross Domestic Product, along with industrial production and trade balance, will arrive at 0800 CEST.

Italian industrial production will be released at 1000 CEST, one hour before industrial sales. At 1330 CEST, time for the European Central Bank minutes.

From the U.S., focus on Michigan consumer confidence, due at 1600 CEST, and Baker Hughes data on mining plants in the U.S.

Among the companies in the Piazza Affari, results from Alerion Clean Power, De' Longhi, DiaSorin, Iveco Group and Unieuro, among others, are expected.

By Giuseppe Fabio Ciccomascolo, Alliance News senior reporter

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