(Alliance News) - Europe's major stock markets closed mixed on Friday, with investors calmed in the afternoon by the annual US core PCE figure for April, unchanged at 2.8 percent from March, after a morning marked instead by hotter-than-expected inflation in the Eurozone and international tensions over developments in Ukraine.

"After mixed trading in recent weeks, investors were happy to see the slowdown in core PCE, which gave a boost to struggling stocks," comments Chris Beauchamp, Chief Market Analyst at online trading platform IG. "While leaving expectations for the June Fed meeting unchanged, the figure at least dispelled fears that a hike would become more likely. However, French and Eurozone inflation data were hotter than expected, signaling that the battle against inflation is far from over."

On the geopolitical front, however, NATO countries have indicated their willingness to allow Ukraine to use its weapons on Russian territory, and now the world is waiting to see how Russia will respond. "Together with France's decision to deploy military advisers to Ukraine, it seems that the risks of conflict spillover are back on the agenda for investors," the analyst concludes.

Thus, the FTSE Mib closed up 0.1 percent to 34,492.41, the Mid-Cap gave up 0.2 percent to 47,724.79, the Small-Cap finished in the green 0.2 percent to 29,460.67, while Italy Growth advanced 0.3 percent to 8,192.54.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 closed up 0.6 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 40 finished in fractional green while Paris' CAC 40 closed just above par.

On the Mib, Pirelli ended the session on top with a 2.8 percent gain, after yesterday's session that contracted 4.5 percent. The Chinese of Silk Road Fund exit Pirelli, with the fund holding its stake, about 9 percent. Tronchetti Provera, on the other hand, takes over 2.2 percent to just under 23 percent, a year after the government applied Golden Power on the group that works for, among other things, Defense.

Leonardo follows, in the green by 2.1 percent.

BPER Banca -- in the red by 0.3% -- on Thursday announced the early closure to December 31, 2024 of its 2022-2025 business plan in light of the early achievement of key economic and financial targets. Thus, the board of directors instructed the CEO to prepare a new 2024-2027 plan.

Italgas--up 1.0 percent--reported Thursday that the board of directors analyzed the group's expected operating and financial performance in 2024 and approved the guidance for the year. In detail, the guidance calls for adjusted revenues of around EUR1.8 billion, adjusted Ebitda of between EUR1.32-1.35 billion, and adjusted Ebit of around EUR800 million.

Intesa Sanpaolo -- in the red by 0.2 percent -- announced Friday that it had finalized the acquisition of Romanian First Bank SA from U.S.-based private investment fund JC Flowers & Co.

With the acquisition of First Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo's presence in Romania, where it has been active since 1996 through Intesa San Paolo Bank Romania, has more than doubled.

Telecom Italia ends at the bottom with a 2.8 percent drop. The European Commission on Thursday unconditionally approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition by KKR & Co. Inc. of NetCo, which includes the primary and backbone fixed network businesses of Telecom Italia and FiberCop. FiberCop is a joint venture between TIM and KKR that includes TIM's secondary fixed network.

In the cadet segment, SOL finished on top with 4.4 percent, followed by BFF Bank and MFE's A shares, in the green by 3.2 and 2.9 percent.

Piovan closed up 2.5 percent, echoing Thursday's green close of 0.8 percent.

Banca Ifis - in the green by 1.4 percent - announced that Katia Mariotti, current head of the NPL department, has completed the three-year business plan of the same department, and will undertake a new professional position at AMCO - Asset Management Company as of August 3.

Webuild - in the red by 0.6 percent - reported Thursday that it has 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

On the Small-Cap segment, the board of directors of the Fidia Group - in the red by 5.0 percent - approved a new budget for the year ending December 31, 2023, closing with a consolidated net loss of EUR1.47 million, compared to a negative EUR4.9 million in fiscal 2022.

Tessellis -- up 17 percent -- and GO internet announced Monday that the remaining conditions precedent under the terms of the investment agreement signed between Tessellis, OpNet and GO internet for the realization of Tessellis' previously announced investment transaction in GO internet had been fulfilled. The companies, therefore, agreed to proceed with the closing of the transaction.

The agreement stipulated that, Tessellis, through a possible corporate vehicle, would acquire a trade receivable owed by OpNet to GO Internet and subscribe to a reserved capital increase of GO Internet by offsetting this receivable, up to a maximum amount of approximately EUR3.4 million.

Among SMEs, Pattern closed in the green by 2.5 percent after announcing Thursday that it had signed a binding investment agreement to purchase, through its 80 percent subsidiary SMT Srl, 100 percent of Umbria Verde Mattioli Srl, an Umbrian company specializing in the production, processing and marketing of luxury knitwear.

The agreed price is EUR20.0 million and will be paid by SMT to the sellers in several tranches.

Softlab's board of directors approved the draft consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2023, closing with a loss of EUR400,000 compared to a profit of EUR3.2 million in the year 2022.

With reference to the capital increase under option resolved by the extraordinary shareholders' meeting on May 22 for a maximum amount of EUR30 million, expert.ai - in the red by 3.0 percent - announced Thursday that its shareholder Sofia Holding Srl has committed to subscribe its entire share under the future option offer for a maximum amount of about EUR1.2 million.

Sofia Holding holds 2.8 million expert.ai shares, representing about 4 percent of the share capital.

In New York, the Dow is up 0.2 percent, the Nasdaq is down 1.3 percent, and the S&P 500 is giving up 0.5 percent.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0845 from USD1.0844 on Thursday in closing European equities while the pound is worth USD1.2724 from USD1.2745 last night.

Among commodities, Brent crude trades at USD81.66 per barrel from USD83.14 per barrel on Thursday. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,329.79 an ounce from USD2,344.44 an ounce on Thursday night.

Monday's macroeconomic calendar opens at 0345 CEST with the Caixin manufacturing index from China, followed at 0945 CEST by the Italian manufacturing purchasing managers' index.

In the next ten minutes, the same PMI will also come out from France and Germany, while at 1000 CEST will come the Eurozone's and at 1030 CEST the UK's.

In the afternoon at 1600 CEST, the manufacturing PMI will come from the US instead.

At Piazza Affari, Visibilia Editore's results are expected.

By Chiara Bruschi, Alliance News reporter

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