(Alliance News) - European stock markets Thursday opened higher -- with Milan tagging along -- on the heels of corporate results that are boosting stock markets, despite disappointing data coming in from two important G7 economies, the UK and Japan.

On that note, the UK economy contracted 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2023, following a 0.1 percent decline in the previous quarter and worse than market forecasts of a 0.1 percent decline. Considering the whole of 2023, GDP in the UK increased by 0.1 percent.

In addition, Japan's GDP also unexpectedly contracted by 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter in the 2023 quarter, missing market forecasts of 0.3 percent growth and following a revised 0.8 percent decline in the third quarter. The economy fell into recession for the first time in five years.

The FTSE Mib, therefore, opened up 0.8 percent at 31,581.05.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 is up 0.5 percent, Paris' CAC 40 is advancing 0.9 percent, and Frankfurt's DAX 40 is up 0.8 percent.

Among the smaller listings on Wednesday, the Mid-Cap is advancing 0.2% to 45,396.29, the Small-Cap is in fractional red at 27,658.84, and Italy Growth is in the green 0.1% to 8,114.32.

On the Mib Banca Monte dei Paschi advances 1.9 percent with new price at EUR3.72 per share, a 52-week high.

Prysmian -- in the green by 4.1% -- on Thursday reported that it had finalized contracts for three orders with an aggregate value of about EUR5 billion with Amprion, one of Europe's leading transmission system operators, for two offshore grid connection systems, BalWin1 and BalWin2, and the DC34 onshore cable project. The orders, which have now been included in Prysmian's order backlog, follow Prysmian's selection as "preferred bidder" in August 2023.

Stellantis -- in profit by 3.4 percent -- has decided to award a total bonus of EUR1.9 billion to employees worldwide after reporting growing results in 2023. Revenues from sales at the merged company of FCA and PSA Groupe rose to EUR189.54 billion from EUR179.59 billion in 2022, an increase of 6 percent.

Telecom Italia, on the other hand, is giving up 0.6 percent with new price at EUR0.27 per share after 1.9 percent green on eve.

In the cadet segment, buoyancy on illimity Bank, which moves ahead 1.0% to EUR4.93 per share on the heels of eve's 2.7% close.

Good buying also on Industrie de Nora, which moves ahead 1.4% on its fourth bullish session.

Zignago Vetro Spa - in the green by 0.5 percent - reported Wednesday that it bought 34,810 of its own ordinary shares between Feb. 9 and 13. The shares were taken over at an average unit price of EUR13.1292, for a total value of EUR457,000.

Citigroup raised Tod's target price to EUR43.00 from EUR35.00. However, the stock still trades in the red by 0.1 percent.

On the SmallCap, Softlab is advancing 3.7 percent to EUR1.55 per share after a 5.6 percent loss on the eve.

Italian Exhibition Group is advancing 2.9 percent to EUR4.98 per share, with the stock up 48 percent on a monthly basis.

Esprinet -- in the red by 4.3% -- reported Wednesday that it had revenues from customer contracts of EUR4.0 billion in 2023, down 15% from EUR4.7 billion in 2022. The latest quarter saw revenues of about EUR1.2 billion, down 15 percent from the same period in 2022 when they were EUR1.5 billion.

Gefran - up 1.2 percent on the letter - reported Wednesday that it ended 2023 with revenues down slightly year-on-year to EUR132.8 million from EUR134.4 million a year earlier.

Among SMEs, Estrima is moving ahead by 6.3 percent to EUR0.73 per share, after a 1.7 percent decline on the eve.

ALA -- in the green by 2.9 percent -- reported Thursday that it ended 2023 with a value of production of EUR233.1 million compared to EUR158.7 million a year earlier, up 47 percent. Ebitda rose 50 percent to EUR25.3 million from EUR16.8 million while margin increased to 10.9 percent from 10.6 percent.

Digitouch is giving up 2.3 percent to EUR2.15 per share, after a 2.3 percent green on eve.

In New York overnight Europe, the Dow advanced 0.4 percent, the Nasdaq closed up 1.3 percent while the S&P 500 closed in the green 1.0 percent.

Among Asian exchanges, the NIkkei rallied 1.2 percent while the Hang Seng rallied 0.4 percent with Shanghai closed for Chinese New Year.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0734 against USD1.0716 recorded in Wednesday's European stock close while the pound is worth USD1.2549 from USD1.2551 on Wednesday evening.

Brent crude is worth USD81.35 per barrel versus USD82.70 per barrel at Wednesday's close. Gold, meanwhile, trades at USD1,993.31 an ounce from USD1,991.83 an ounce last night.

Thursday's calendar calls for the trade balance in Italy at 1000 CET, and the same figure for the Eurozone is expected at 1100 CET.

In the afternoon, a range of data will arrive from the US, starting with the import price index and initial claims for unemployment benefits at 1430 CET. Also scheduled at the same time are retail sales and the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index.

US manufacturing and industrial production will come out at 1515 CET.

In Piazza Affari, the results of Eni and Franchi Umberto Marmi, among others, are expected.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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