(Alliance News) - On Friday, European stock markets -- according to the futures market -- are positioned for a bullish opening, as trading floors prepare to assess Eurozone inflation data due later today for clues on the path of monetary policy.

Also coming up are German retail sales -- the currency bloc's top economy -- and Italian GDP data, while yesterday's downward revision of U.S. GDP data raised hopes that the Federal Reserve is on track to cut interest rates at least once by the end of the year.

Thus, the FTSE Mib-after closing up 0.9 percent at 34,447.57 last night-is marking a green of 75.00 points.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 is advancing 8.10 points, Frankfurt's DAX 40 is the only bearish with a decline of 26.00 points, and Paris' CAC 40 is marking a green of 5.20 points.

Among the smaller listings last night, the Mid-Cap closed in the green 1.1 percent to 47,787.74, the Small-Cap was up 1.6 percent to 29,410.10 while Italy Growth closed in the fractional red at 8,212.80.

On the Mib last night, ERG closed at the top with 6.9 percent, after occupying first place since the bell rang by advancing 4.5 percent with price at EUR25.32 and rearing its head again after two sessions closed down.

It is followed by BPER Banca, which gained 2.9% after eve's 2.0% decline.

Banco BPM - up 2.7 percent - rounds out the podium. The company on Thursday announced its intention to exercise the early redemption option of the "Euro 300,000,000 8.750% Additional Tier 1 Notes" instrument. This instrument, issued but June 2019 and placed with institutional investors, now has a remaining amount of EUR300.0 million, of which EUR223.3 million is repurchased by the issuer in November 2023.

Banca Popolare di Sondrio -- in the green by 1.3 percent -- announced Tuesday that it has placed a EUR500 million, six-year senior preferred green bond with an early redemption option on June 4, 2029. The transaction, made under the EUR5 billion Euro Medium Term Notes program, aims to finance and refinance green projects that comply with the Green Bond Framework and follows similar ones in July 2021 and September 2023.

Telecom Italia--in the red by 1.6 percent--reported Wednesday that its board of directors approved additional periodic financial information as of March 31, reporting first quarter group revenues of EUR3.93 billion, up from EUR3.84 billion in the same period of 2023. First-quarter net income attributable to owners of the parent reported a loss of EUR400 million, an improvement from a loss of EUR689.0 million in the first quarter of 2023, and discounted the negative effect of net nonrecurring charges of EUR93 million from EUR427 million in the first quarter of 2023.

"Fears that TIM's debt, now nearly 15 times Ebitda, is unsustainable even after the network divestment, triggers a new wave of selling on the stock in the stock market. And the top two shareholders, namely Vivendi and the Italian government, are watching with some concern the stock burn all the recovery of the past two mes," comments Francesco Bonazzi of Alliance News.

Pirelli ended at the bottom, down 4.5 percent, after two sessions closed in the green. Tenaris was also bad, down 2.4 percent.

On the cadet segment, Webuild -- in the black with 0.7 percent -- reported Thursday that it had won a new contract in France to build the Grand Paris Express, the new metro in the Île de France region that is currently the most important and innovative sustainable mobility project in Europe. Société des grands projets has awarded Webuild, in a joint venture with French partner NGE, the contract worth a total of EUR1.38 billion, of which Webuild's share is 45.5 percent, for the construction of Lot 2 of the West Section of Line 15 of the Grand Paris Express.

The board of directors of Tamburi Investment Partners -- in the red by 0.2% -- on Wednesday evening approved the issuance of a non-convertible, unrated, non-subordinated and unsecured bond in the nominal amount of EUR250 million; the company is allowed to increase the nominal amount of the bond up to a further maximum of EUR100 million, thus up to a total nominal amount of EUR350 million.

On the Small-Cap, illimity Bank closed up 9.3 percent after starting a share buyback program today-expiring on April 8, 2025.

The April 24 shareholders' meeting had approved the purchase, also in several tranches, of illimity shares up to a maximum number of 1.0 million for an amount not exceeding EUR5.5 million.

Fidia closed at a breakeven. The board approved a new budget for the year ending Dec. 31, 2023, closing with a consolidated net income of negative EUR1.47 million, compared to negative EUR4.9 million in fiscal 2022. Net revenues were EUR28.6 million compared to EUR24.4 million in FY 2022.

Softlab's board of directors - in the red by 0.7 percent - approved the draft consolidated financial statements as of Dec. 31, 2023, closing with a loss of EUR400,000 compared to a profit of EUR3.2 million in FY 2022. Revenues earned in FY 2023 were EUR24 million, a slight increase from EUR23.7 million in FY 2022.

Among SMEs, Energy gave up 0.6 percent. The company reported that it has signed a preliminary agreement to purchase a 90 percent stake in Enermore, a Sterzing-based company held by a German holding company, Natural Resources Holding.

Mare Engineering Group -- in the red by 13 percent -- reported Wednesday that it had reported a net profit of EUR2.4 million as of Dec. 31 from EUR3.7 million in 2022. Value of production amounted to EUR39.4 million in 2023 from EUR35.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2022.

Sicily by Car closed up 2.5 percent after announcing Wednesday the formation of Barcelona-based Sicily by Car Spain.

Sicily by Car Spain has a share capital of EUR100,000 and is wholly owned by Sicily by Car.

In New York last night, the Dow gave up 0.9 percent, the Nasdaq closed down 1.1 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 0.6 percent.

Among Asian exchanges, the Nikkei rose 1.1 percent, the Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent, and the Shanghai Composite posted a plus 0.1 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changed hands at USD1.0816 from USD1.0844 on Thursday in closing European equities while the pound was worth USD1.2715 from USD1.2745 last night.

Among commodities, Brent crude trades at USD81.84 per barrel from USD83.14 per barrel on Thursday. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,343.28 an ounce from USD2,344.44 an ounce on Thursday night.

On Friday's macroeconomic calendar, Italy's GDP is scheduled to arrive at 1000 CEST and inflation at 1100 CEST.

That of the Eurozone, on the other hand, will arrive at 1100 CEST and, an hour later, it will be the turn of Italian industrial sales.

From the U.S., at 1430 CEST will come out the PCE data and the core personal spending price index while from Canada, at the same time, GDP is expected.

In Piazza Affari, Gentili Mosconi's quarterly results and H-Farm's half-yearly report are expected.

By Maurizio Carta, Alliance News reporter

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