(Alliance News) - Piazza Affari is expected to fall sharply ahead of Friday's start of trading, with Israel's new offensive toward Iran undermining sentiment in the markets and beyond.

Iran has activated its air defense system over several cities, state media reported, after the country's official broadcaster said explosions were heard near the central city of Isfahan.

Israel warned it would respond after Iran fired hundreds of missiles and drones at its enemy over the weekend. Most of them were intercepted. The weekend bombing came in response to an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus by Israel.

The FTSE Mib is given down 520.0 points or 1.6 percent before Friday's open after closing up 0.7 percent at 33,881.50 on Thursday's session.

London's FTSE 100 is expected down 78.6 points or 1.0 percent, Paris' CAC 40 is shown in the red 81.4 points or 1.0 percent and Frankfurt's DAX 40 is expected down 276.5 points or 1.6 percent.

In Milan last night, the Mid-Cap rose 0.3 percent to 46,419.54, the Small-Cap gained 0.6 percent to 27,963.33, and the Italy Growth was up 0.1 percent to 8,024.00.

On the Mib, strength on Banca Mediolanum, which closed up 1.9 percent, on the heels of the eve's rise that closed with a plus 1.0 percent.

The bank announced Thursday that its board of directors confirmed Annalisa Sara Doris as vice chairman and Massimo Antonio Doris as chief executive officer.

At the same meeting, the board noted that the board of directors in office for the three-year period 2024-2026 is composed of Giovanni Pirovano, Annalisa Sara Doris, Massimo Antonio Doris, Paolo Gibello Ribatto, Giovanna Luisa Maria Redaelli, Roberta Pierantoni, Francesco Maria Frasca, Carlo Vivaldi, Patrizia Giangualano, Francesca Reich, Anna Gervasoni, Giovanni Lo Storto, and Giacinto Gaetano Sarubbi.

Banca Monte dei Paschi, on the other hand, rose 3.1 percent to EUR4.20 per share, following up on eve's bullish close of 2.0 percent. Rocca Salimbeni said it has completed the placement of a EUR750 million five-year covered bond issue.

As the bank explains, this is the first European covered bond issue carried out by the bank after the transposition of the European harmonization directive on covered bonds. In detail, orders exceeded EUR2.3 billion with coupon at the 3.5 percent level and at a re-offer price of 99.919 percent.

Enel finished up 1.4 percent with price at EUR5.86 per share. Deutsche Bank Research on Monday cut its target price to EUR6.30 from EUR6.70 with a 'hold' recommendation.

Among the few bearish, Saipem gave up 1.9 percent while Brunello Cucinelli lost 1.9 percent the day after its first-quarter results.

On the Mid-Cap, boost on MFE, with class A and B shares rising 4.4% and 9.0%, respectively. The group's fiscal year 2023 financial results, approved Wednesday by the board of directors, are well above the company's estimates from the beginning of the year. Net income - excluding the accounting impact arising in the two fiscal years from the contribution of the shareholding in Prosiebensat1 - is positive at EUR217.5 million, up 18 percent from EUR184.7 million in 2022.

OVS -- up 8.3 percent -- reported Thursday that it ended the year ended Jan. 31, 2024 with a reported net profit of EUR52.4 million, up from EUR39.6 million in the same period last year. The board of directors proposed a dividend of EUR0.07 from EUR0.06 as of Jan. 31, 2023. Net sales stood at EUR1.54 billion from EUR1.51 billion as of January 31, 2023.

On the other hand, d'Amico gave up 3.3 percent, after 3.8 percent in the green on the eve of the day, after announcing on Wednesday that its operating subsidiary, d'Amico Tankers DAC, has entered into a construction contract with Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding, China, for the purchase of two new 'Long Range' tankers at a contract price of USD55.4 million each. The company expects these two new ships to be delivered in September and November 2027, respectively.

On the Small-Cap, SIT advances, up 10 percent to EUR1.6350 per share, breaking a three-session downtrend.

Avio gained 7.8 percent to EUR11.30 per share. The stock has increased its market cap by more than 26 percent since the start of 2024.

At the tail end, Eems Italia lost 9.6 percent, placing it at the bottom of the list of small-cap companies.

Among SMEs, Energy confirmed its good start and closed up 9.5 percent, its fourth straight session among the bullish.

Giglio.com, on the other hand, rose 4.3 percent, bringing its weekly rise to 30 percent. The stock--on an average of two analysts--is priced with an average target price of EUR3.55, thus being under-priced by about 118%.

Illa, on the other hand, gave up 20 percent, recording the steepest decline on its home list.

In Asia, the Nikkei is down 2.3 percent to 37,189.49, the Shanghai Composite gives up 0.4 percent to 3,063.33 and the Hang Seng is down 1.5 percent to 16,142.06.

In New York, the Dow closed Thursday up 0.1 percent to 37,775.38, the Nasdaq fell 0.5 percent to 15,601.50 and the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent to 5,011.12.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0630 from USD1.0663 on Thursday in closing European equities while the pound was worth USD1.2407 from USD1.2464 last night.

Among commodities, Brent crude is worth USD88.72 a barrel from USD87.16 a barrel last night and gold trades at USD2,382.28 an ounce from USD2,379.05 an ounce Thursday night.

Friday's macro calendar continues, at 1000 CEST, with Spain's trade balance, coming two hours before Iberian consumer confidence.

In the U.S., eyes on Baker Hughes' U.S. drilling rig data, coming in at 1900 CEST.

Among the companies in Piazza Affari, the accounts of Convergenze, CSP International, Gismondi 1754 and Neurosoft are expected.

By Giuseppe Fabio Ciccomascolo, Alliance News senior reporter

Comments and questions to redazione@alliancenews.com

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