(Alliance News) - Piazza Affari closed sharply higher on Wednesday's trading session, with traders' eyes now all on the Federal Reserve, which will make its monetary policy announcement in a couple of hours.

The market expects another meeting of substantial stability on rates, with the focus centered on the dot-plot on whether -- and when -- the U.S. central bank will follow the European Central Bank in cutting rates.

The annual U.S. inflation rate slowed to 3.3 percent in May, below April's 3.4 percent and forecasts of 3.4 percent. The data were released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of labor statistics.

Compared with the previous month, the CPI was unchanged, also below expectations of a 0.1 percent increase, as falling gasoline prices were offset by higher housing costs.

Meanwhile, core inflation slowed to 3.4 percent year-on-year, lower than the consensus of 3.5 percent, and the monthly core inflation rate fell to 0.2 percent from 0.3 percent, also better than expectations of 0.3 percent.

The FTSE Mib closed up 1.4 percent to 34,358.83, the Mid-Cap was up 1.5 percent to 47,984.13, the Small-Cap gained 0.7 percent to 29,128.99, and Italy Growth was up 0.2 percent to 8,121.43.

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

Also doing well among the many rising bankers was Banca Mediolanum, which closed the mid-week session up 2.8 percent.

Negotiations broke down between Leonardo -- down 1.9 percent -- and the Franco-German group KNDS, which had been trying for six months to finalize an alliance for the production of tanks and armored infantry vehicles, as envisaged in the letter of intent signed last Dec. 13.

On Tuesday afternoon, KNDS, through a statement by CEO, Frank Haun, announced the halt to negotiations, which was later confirmed by Leonardo.

The goal of the alliance was mainly Leonardo's participation in the production of future Leopard 2A8 tanks, currently produced by KNDS subsidiaries-notably Germany's Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and France's Nexter, which produces Leclerc tanks-to be offered in the tender called by the Italian Army to replace Oto Melara's old Ariete tanks. An order potentially worth EUR8 billion.

Eni -- in the red by 0.3 percent -- on Wednesday announced the successful completion of the placement of a 10 percent stake in Saipem's share capital -- which rose 1.8 percent -- at EUR1.970 per share, for a total consideration of about EUR393 million.

As a result of the placement, which took place through an accelerated bookbuilding process aimed at institutional investors, Eni holds just under 423 million shares of Saipem stock representing about 21.19 percent of the share capital. Of these, 12.50 percent of the share capital contributed to the shareholders' agreement with CDP Equity.

STMicroelectronics with 3.3%, Ferrari with 3.0% and A2A with 2.9% led the rises in the main Milanese basket.

On the Mid-Cap, Banca Ifis closed up 1.8%, tacking up after two bearish sessions.

For Intercos, the gain was 3.0% after Tuesday's 3.7% decline, breaking a streak of four bearish sessions in a row.

Fincantieri--declining 1.1 percent--reported Tuesday that its board of directors had resolved to exercise the proxy granted by the extraordinary shareholders' meeting regarding a capital increase of up to EUR500.0 million.

On the Small-Cap, Conafi rose 0.9 percent on the heels of the eve's gain of 2.2 percent, with the month's rise to nearly 16 percent or so.

Strength also on Garofalo Health Care, which is up 2.6 percent to EUR5.54 per share after 2.5 percent red on eve.

doValue--down 1.9%--reported Tuesday that the Madrid High Court of Justice ruled in its favor, rejecting Altamira Asset Management Holding SL's attempt to overturn an earlier decision requiring it to make a payment to doValue related to a tax claim. As a result of the decision, the doValue group will record financial income of EUR22.7 million, the company's note says, which will have a positive impact on first-half net income of about EUR0.28 per share.

Among the bearish, list minority, EPH lost 18 percent and Unieuro gave up 1.1 percent, in its third consecutive bearish session. Of mention, Citadel Advisors raised its short on the stock to 0.50% from 0.49% previously.

Mondo TV - down 1.1% to EUR0.1964 - reported that it has signed a new licensing and merchandising agreement for MeteoHeroes with Thekom, Solutions for Communication. The contract will last until June 2026 and will cover ITaly, Canton Ticino, San Marino and the Vatican. In addition, no payment is expected other than royalties on sales, yet to be agreed between the two companies.

Among SMEs, IDNTT rose 2.6 percent, turning upward after two sessions of declines. The company has subscribed to a EUR120,000 capital increase in C41, allowing it to hold a 10 percent stake in the target.

Based on the agreements signed between the parties, IDNTT also holds an option to purchase an additional 41%, which it can optionally exercise based on its own evaluations within 90 days of the approval of the financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2025, and which will enable it to come to hold 51% of C41's share capital.

Circle--up 1.5 percent--reported Tuesday evening that the board had resolved to submit a proposal for a paid capital increase of up to EUR4.0 million to the next shareholders' meeting, called for June 27, in an extraordinary session.

Relatech - down 0.5 percent - reported Wednesday that the company's board of directors reviewed its order book as of May 31 and approved the ESG 2023 budget. Group orders at the consolidated level stood at about EUR28 million for the current year's share, down 3 percent from the May 31, 2023 backlog of EUR29 million.

In New York, the Dow is up 0.4 percent to 38,897.94, the Nasdaq rises 1.8 percent to 17,663.02, and the S&P 500 marks a 1.2 percent increase to 5,437.65.

Among currencies, the euro changes hands at USD1.0845 from USD1.0728 yesterday in closing European equities while the pound is worth USD1.2837 from USD1.2723 Tuesday evening.

Among commodities, Brent crude is trading at USD82.70 per barrel from USD82.00 per barrel at Tuesday's close. Gold, on the other hand, trades at USD2,323.17 an ounce from USD2,315.27 on Tuesday evening.

Thursday's macroeconomic calendar features Germany's wholesale prices, due at 0800 CEST, and Spanish inflation at 0900 CEST, an hour before Italy's quarterly unemployment data.

ECB's De Guindos and Lane will speak at 1100 CEST, the same time as the Eurozone industrial production data will be released. Just 10 minutes later, auctions of three-, seven-, 15- and 30-year BTPs will be held.

In the afternoon, room for producer prices and U.S. jobless claims at 1430 CEST, an hour before Schnabel's ECB speech, while four- and eight-week T-Note auctions will be held at 1730 CEST and 30-year at 1900 CEST. The Fed's balance sheet will be released at 2230 CEST.

Among the companies in the Piazza Affari, the accounts of Caribbean Company and Eligo are expected.

By Giuseppe Fabio Ciccomascolo, Alliance News senior reporter

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