(Alliance News) - Major European stock markets closed the session higher on Thursday following the Bank of England's widely expected decision by the market to confirm its benchmark rates.

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted by a majority of 72 to keep the bank rate at 5.25 percent. Two members voted to reduce the bank rate by 0.25 percentage point, to 5 percent.

"The FTSE 100 rose after the BoE's decision. The weakening of the pound was positive for the large number of foreign investors that make up the index. Ten-year gilts fell after the rate decision, but soon regained ground," says Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell.

"Confidence is growing that the Bank may cut rates in August or September, which would represent a major shift in monetary policy and effectively draw a line under an era dictated by soaring inflation and rapid rate hikes."

"Investors are looking for a future where inflation comes back under control and rates begin to fall, and the magic moment seems to be at hand," the analyst concludes.

Thus, the FTSE Mib closed in the green by 1.4 percent at 33,675.15, the Mid-Cap finished in the green by 1.6 percent at 47,591.28, the Small-Cap rallied 1.5 percent to 29,100.09, while Italy Growth gained 0.3 percent to 8,136.71.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent, Paris' CAC 40 gained 1.4 percent while Frankfurt's DAX 40 finished up 1.0 percent.

Among the day's macros, in the afternoon, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined by 5,000 to 238,000 in the second week of June, above market expectations of 235,000, marking the second highest reading since August 2023, only following the previous week's upwardly revised figure.

The results are further evidence of the weakening U.S. labor market, strengthening the case for multiple rate cuts by the Federal Reserve later this year, should inflation converge toward its target.

In addition, Eurozone consumer confidence improved in June, according to the European Commission's flash estimate released Thursday, standing at minus 14.0, an improvement from May's negative 14.3 point figure.

In Piazza Affari, the blue chip list is almost entirely tinged with green, with Iveco Group being the only stock to finish down 0.1 percent.

Stellantis - in the green by 0.5 percent - reported a decline in European sales in May, in line with the negative trend in the performance of the European market, where registrations fell 3.0 percent year-on-year to 912,000 units, a sharp reversal from the 13.7 percent increase in the previous month.

Leonardo - in the green by 0.9% - 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.

Eni--up 1.7 percent--reported Thursday that Greenpeace and ReCommon have asked for a suspension of the climate lawsuit filed last year. The associations requested the suspension following the filing of a jurisdictional settlement complaint.

"Jurisdiction that had already been ruled out in the well-known Giudizio Universale lawsuit, brought by the world of associations against the Italian state, again on climate issues," the company specified in a note.

Intesa Sanpaolo closed in the green by 1.0 percent. Of note, ODDO BHF raised its target price to EUR4.40 with 'outperform' title.

On the Mid-Cap, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore closed on top with a rise of over 8.5 percent after Equita upgraded recommendation to 'buy' from 'hold' by raising the target price to EUR3.20.

Sesa follows with an 8.2 percent gain after announcing 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.

Maire Tecnimont - in the green by 1.5 percent - announced Thursday that NextChem, through its subsidiary NextChem Tech, will act as Technology Design Integrator to develop the Process Design Package for the hydrogen and carbon dioxide recovery unit of the Hail and Ghasha development project.

On the Small- Cap, Italian Exhibitoin Group did best of all, up 16 percent green followed by Eems Italy at 9.0 percent, Monrif up 8.0 percent and doValue, up 7.3 percent green.

The company announced Thursday that following the announcement of the binding agreement to acquire Gardant, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings confirmed the company's Issuer Credit Rating and Issuer Default Rating at 'BB,' with a Stable outlook.

The rating and outlook confirmation reflect expectations that the integration of Gardant will enable doValue to reduce leverage, according to the released note.

Among SMEs, FOS, in the green by 0.8 percent, on Thursday announced the awarding of the "ITACA - Air's Lightest Mobile Telecommunication Infrastructure for the Alpine Context" project under the "iNEST-Interconnected Northeast Innovation Ecosystem" Research and Innovation program, funded by the Ministry of University and Research.

The 15-month project, in partnership with lead partner MAVTech, involves a total investment of about EUR250,000, in which, FOS will invest about EUR150,000, of which about EUR100,000 will come from the Next Generation EU fund for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

SolidWorld Group -- in the red by 0.9 percent -- announced that it has set the option ratio for the capital increase, which will involve the issuance of a total of a maximum of 811,250 new ordinary shares at a subscription price of EUR2.80 and for a maximum offering value of EUR2.3 million.

For every 1 ordinary share held, 1 option right will be assigned with the issuance of a total of 15.4 option rights, taking into account the 119,425 treasury shares in the company's portfolio to date and subject to the waiver by shareholders Prime and Al.ca of 97,940 and 48,970 respectively for a total of 146,910 option rights, which is necessary to square the transaction.

Dxor Investments, the controlling shareholder of Altea Green Power -- in the red by 0.7 percent -- on Thursday successfully completed the sale of 750,000 ordinary shares, equivalent to 4.33 percent of the share capital, in order to enable Altea Green Power to have the minimum free float for access to Euronext STAR Milan as a result of the translisting process currently underway.

The shares were placed on the market through an accelerated bookbuilding procedure reserved for qualified investors in Italy and institutional investors abroad.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0718 from USD1.0748 at Wednesday's European stock close while the pound was worth USD1.2675 from USD1.2728 on Wednesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude trades at USD85.40 per barrel from USD85.61 per barrel at Wednesday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,369.60 an ounce from USD2,327.10 last night.

In New York, the Dow Jones gains 0.1 percent as do the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.

Friday's macroeconomic calendar opens in the UK with the GfK index of British consumer confidence at 0101 CEST and, at the same time, the manufacturing and services PMI index in Australia.

In Japan, core inflation is due out at 0130 CEST and, at 0230 CEST, the manufacturing and services PMI index.

At 0800 CEST UK Retail Sales will be released while between 0915 CEST and 1030 CEST the Composite, Manufacturing and Services PMIs in France, Germany, Eurozone and UK are expected.

At 1300 CEST, the Spanish Consumer Confidence Index is expected and at 1430 CEST, Retail Sales and the Commodity Price Index will come out from Canada.

PMIs will also come in from the U.S., at 1545 CEST, covering the manufacturing and services sectors, along with the Composite.

In Piazza Affari, no special events are expected.

By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter

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