(Alliance News) - Major European stock exchanges close higher on Wednesday as markets continue to digest U.S. and U.K. inflation updates.

"The last 24 hours have been full of surprises, and this morning's UK inflation data," comments Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at online trading platform IG, "certainly took markets by surprise. The rapid deceleration in price growth has hit the pound hard, and now it seems that a BoE rate cut has become a much more likely event in the first half of the year. This has helped the FTSE 100 outperform the other indices today, although it obviously remains far behind from a longer-term perspective."

As a result, the FTSE Mib closed up 0.6 percent at 31,329.38, the Mid-Cap up 0.4 percent at 45,300.00, the Small-Cap finished up 0.9 percent at 27,666.83, and Italy Growth gained 0.2 percent at 8,103.05.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 finished up 0.8 percent, Paris' CAC 40 was up 0.7 percent and Frankfurt's DAX 40 gained 0.4 percent.

On the Mib, Interpump Group gained 5.3 percent after reporting Wednesday that it ended 2023 with year-over-year revenue and profit growth. Net income rose to EUR277.5 million from EUR269.7 million while basic earnings per share rose to EUR2.565 from EUR2.524 a year earlier. ROCE was 18.1 percent from 17.7 percent and ROI 15.4 percent from 17.2 percent.

Better did only Leonardo, which rose 6.1 percent to EUR18.29. Nexi, in the green by 4.2%, closes the podium.

BPER Banca, in the red by 1.1%, disclosed on Wednesday that it has a stake of EUR140 million out of a total EUR560 million in the construction of "Europe's largest photovoltaic module factory."

Pirelli did worse, closing down 1.2 percent.

Iveco Group -- up 1.4% -- reported Wednesday that Heuliez, the company's city bus brand, has been selected by Régie des Transports Métropolitains to supply 200 electric buses, in a contract worth EUR125 million.

On the Mid-Cap, Industrie De Nora closed on top, up 4.0 percent, after reporting that it ended 2023 with revenues of EUR856 million compared to EUR853 million in the previous year.

This development mainly reflects the growth reported by the Energy Transition business segment of 140% year-on-year, more than tripling the GW of technologies realized, the growth of the Water Technologies Systems product line of 17%, and the substantial stability of the Electrode Technologies Business segment -- up 2% at constant exchange rates --, which more than offset the normalization of the Pools line.

Net income rose to EUR230 million from EUR90 million, and the development mainly reflects a total nonrecurring income of EUR133 million, related to the listing of the associated company thyssenkrupp nucera on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and in particular due to the reduction of De Nora's percentage shareholding in thyssenkrupp nucera and the gain from the exercise of the greenshoe option.

MFE's A and B shares also did well, advancing 3.3 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

Among small-cap companies, Antares Vision topped the list with an 8.3 percent rise.

It was followed by Olidata, in the green by 7.3 percent, and GPI, up 4.8 percent.

Gefran gained 0.9 percent after reporting Wednesday that it ended 2023 with revenues down slightly year-on-year to EUR132.8 million from EUR134.4 million a year earlier.

Revenues as of Dec. 31, 2022 included EUR1.8 million, of which EUR800,000 related to the billing of services to companies that left the scope as a result of the sale of the drives business to the WEG Group and EUR900,000 for residual sales of drives products not subject to restatement, as they were generated by companies excluded from the scope of the business sale.

Elica's board of directors - in the red by 3.1 percent - on Tuesday approved results for the fourth quarter of 2023 and reviewed preliminary consolidated results for 2023, a year that ended with normalized net income of EUR13.4 million, down from EUR22.5 million in 2022.

Unidata -- up 0.8 percent -- on Tuesday reported that the board of directors reviewed some preliminary consolidated figures for fiscal 2023.

Total consolidated reported revenues, at EUR92.7 million, and total consolidated operating revenues, at EUR100.8 million, are up significantly by 80 percent and 96 percent, respectively, from FY2022. The company specifies how these numbers include "the waiver, from the beginning of 2023, of EUR17 million in revenues related to low-margin activities of the incorporated TWT."

The board of directors of AbitareIn -- which closed in the red by 0.6 percent -- on Tuesday approved in consolidated interim report as of December 31, 2023, covering the first quarter of the fiscal year, a period that ended with consolidated revenues of EUR15.8 million from EUR44.4 million in the same period of the previous year.

On the SME list, Riba Mundo Tecnologia -- in the green by 1.1 percent -- reported Tuesday that it closed 2023 with revenues of EUR434 million, up 32 percent from EUR329 million in 2022.

Orders increased by about 83% year-on-year, from 30,205 in 2022 to 55,228 in 2023, and the number of units sold rose by about 97%, from 2.1 units in 2022 to 4.2 units at the close of fiscal 2023.

EdiliziAcrobatica--up 1.6 percent--reported Wednesday that it had total revenues of EUR164.4 million in 2023, up 11 percent from the previous year, when they were EUR148.1 million.

The company, the note said, managed to contain the negative impact of the interruption of state incentives - which affected the Italian reference market - recording revenues of EUR118.5 million, down 12 percent compared to 2022.

TMP Group - in the red by4.0% - announced on Wednesday that it had signed a commercial agreement to support a promotional campaign in the UK ahead of the launch of a next-generation AI-based technology product.

The order is worth EUR34,000.

eVISO closed down 1.3 percent after reporting Wednesday that the board of directors reviewed key figures for the July-December six-month period, in which it posted "historic records in terms of volumes of energy delivered across all channels," up 49 percent year-on-year to 431GWh.

Gross margin settled in the window between EUR8.0 million and EUR8.4 million, up from EUR2.2 million in the same half of the previous year.

In the face of a 67 percent reduction in energy prices compared to the same half of the previous year, revenues earned in the July-December six-month period amounted to EUR109.0 million, down 25 percent.

In New York, the Dow advances 0.1 percent, the Nasdaq is up 0.6 percent while the S&P 500 is in the green by 0.4 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0728 against USD1.0716 recorded at Tuesday's European stock close while the pound is worth USD1.2551 from USD1.2601 on Tuesday evening.

Brent crude is worth USD82.70 per barrel versus USD82.77 per barrel at Tuesday's close. Gold, meanwhile, trades at USD1,991.83 an ounce from USD1,994.39 an ounce last night.

Thursday's calendar features at 0050 CET Japan's GDP, followed at 0530 CET by industrial production.

At 0800 CET focus on UK, with the release of data on construction, industrial and manufacturing output, GDP and the trade balance.

The Swiss producer price index will come out at 0830 CET while the Spanish main consumer price index is due at 0900 CET.

At 1000 CET, Italy's trade balance is expected and at 1100 CET the Eurozone figure is expected.

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, Stellantis, Franchi Umberto Marmi and La Sia, among others, are expected.

By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter

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