(Alliance News) - Milan closed higher on Monday, trading near the 33,800 level, the highest in nearly two weeks, and outperforming other European exchanges, with banking stocks being among the main players.

Among the day's few macro data points was that German business sentiment remained negative in May, but expectations for the future improved slightly, the ifo Institute reported Monday.

The ifo business climate index stood at 89.3 points in May, below the benchmark of 100 set in 2015.

Thus, the FTSE Mib closed up 1.6 percent to 33,834.91, the Mid-Cap advanced 1.4 percent to 47,839.95, the Small-Cap closed up 1.0 percent to 29,134.30, and Italy Growth rose 0.4 percent to 8,135.46.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 closed in the green by 0.8 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 40 rallied 1.0 percent, and Paris' CAC 40 advanced 1.1 percent.

On the Mib, momentum, as mentioned, on the banking sector, with BPER Banca emerging as the best performer, up 5.0% after a 1.2% red finish in the previous session.

Strength also on Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which closed ahead 4.0%, following Friday night's negative balance. Earlier, the stock was coming off a four-session bullish mini-trend.

UniCredit -- up 3.9% -- announced that it has finalized the implementation arrangements for the execution of the third and final tranche of the 2023 buyback plan in the amount of EUR1.5 billion and number of shares of 155.1 million. The third tranche is the last part of the remaining amount of the total payout from the 2023 fiscal year of EUR3.1 billion.

Also in the highs are Banca Popolare di Sondrio and Banco BPM, with 4.0 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Among the bearish performers was Hera, which gave up 0.6%, veering lower after two sessions among the bullish.

On the cadet segment, Fincantieri did better than all and rose 23 percent, before going into a volatility auction. The company together with Viking announced Friday that it had signed contracts to build two cruise ships. The ships will be based on the characteristics of previous ships already built by Fincantieri for this shipowner and will be delivered between 2028 and 2029. The value of the deal has been described as "large."

Strength also on Banca Ifis, which is in the green by 5.2 percent, after a 1.3 percent red in the previous session. The stock had previously come from four bullish sessions.

For Industrie De Nora, on the other hand, the gain was 3.1 percent, after a 2.9 percent decline on Friday night.

Maire Tecnimont -- in the green by 1.7 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.

The Hail and Ghasha project, whose project was awarded to Tecnimont - Maire's Integrated E&C Solutions - by ADNOC in October 2023 for a total value of USD8.7 billion, is one of the most strategic initiatives globally for the decarbonization of the energy transformation industry, the company explained in a note.

In addition, the company announced Monday that NextChem, through its subsidiary MyRechemical, a leader in the Waste-to-Chemical segment, has signed a license agreement with DG Fuels Louisiana in connection with its proprietary NX Circular gasification technology.

The plant, expected to be operational in 2028, will produce 450 million liters per year of Sustainable Aviation Fuel derived from residual biomass and a small portion of municipal waste.

d'Amico International Shipping -- in the green by 4.1 percent -- on Monday reported that it has signed a new time-charter contract, scheduled to start between the end of the second quarter of 2024 and the beginning of the third quarter of 2024, for one of its MR2 'Eco' vessels, with a reliable counterparty and at a very profitable daily freight rate, for a three-year term.

Among the bearish performers, Acea is mentioned, posting a minus 2.1 percent, following up on the 0.2 percent decline in the previous session.

Among smallcaps, Bialetti Industrie advanced 5.2% to EUR0.2230 per share, rearing its head after two sessions among the bearish.

Newlat Food, on the other hand, advanced more than 12 percent to EUR12.44 per share, rebounding after two sessions closed with a bearish candle.

On the other side of the list, B&C Speakers gave up 5.1 percent, in its third session among the bearish.

Unidata, on the other hand, left 4.2% at EUR3.65 per share on the parterre.

Among SMEs, Comal rose 2.3 percent after it reported Friday that it had won a EUR1.2 million order from an Italian operator to supply the Sun Hunter tracker. The tracker is designed and manufactured by Comal at its Montalto di Castro factory and is a state-of-the-art product, already with an extensive track record of completed installations and enabling a significant increase in the levels of energy produced by the plant and a sharp reduction in wind damage.

RES Sustainable Ethical Recovery - flat at EUR5.95 - announced the startup of the plastics washing and granulation plant at the Pettoranello del Molise industrial site, which will enable the regeneration of rigid plastic packaging.

ESI - up 1.9 percent - announced on Friday that it had signed a contract for the construction of a photovoltaic plant, to be built in the province of Alessandria, commissioned by a leading international operator in the energy sector. The order consists of the design, construction and installation of a photovoltaic plant with a capacity of 5 MWP in the Piedmont region. The amount of the order, which is approximately EUR4.2 million, will be for fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

Ecomembrane closed down 2.6 percent. The company reported that SBS Solar, a 55 percent subsidiary of Ecomembrane and part of the consolidation scope, has signed a three-year framework contract with a leading energy operator for the design and supply of Solaxis single-axis solar trackers on nine photovoltaic plants, to be built in the future, with a total installed capacity of more than 100MW.

In New York, the Dow is advancing 1.0 percent, the Nasdaq is giving up 0.2 percent, and the S&P 500 is picking up 0.3 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0728 from USD1.0686 on Friday in closing European equities while the pound is worth USD1.2690 from USD1.2626 on Friday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is trading at USD85.76 per barrel from USD85.78 per barrel at Friday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,329.22 an ounce from USD2,338.90 on Friday evening.

Tuesday's macroeconomic calendar opens with the Bank of Japan's CPI at 0700 CEST while Spain's GDP will come in at 0900 CEST.

At 1200 CEST the Eurogroup meeting is scheduled and at 1430 CEST inflation data will come out in Canada.

In the US, the consumer confidence report is due at 1600 CEST.

In the U.S., no special events are expected.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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