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Italian Stocks Advance; Azimut, Finmeccanica, Lottomatica, Saipem Active

Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index gained 14.91, or less than 0.1 percent, to 21,096.97 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Milan.

The following stocks were among the most active in the Italian market today.

Ansaldo STS SpA (STS IM) lost 35.5 cents, or 3.4 percent, to 9.97 euros, a fifth straight loss. UniCredit Research lowered its price estimate on Finmeccanica SpA’s railway-technology unit to 11.6 euros from 14.6 euros.

Azimut Holding SpA (AZM IM) advanced for a third day this week, climbing 35 cents, or 4.7 percent, to 7.74 euros. Italy’s largest independent fund manager said first-half net income declined to 46.1 million euros ($60.3 million) from 47.5 million euros a year earlier. Results were better than expected “due to higher management fees,” Mediobanca Securities said after the release.

Banca Popolare di Milano Scrl (PMI IM) rose 4.5 cents, or 1.1 percent, to 4.11 euros. UBS AG global strategists raised European stocks to “neutral” from “underweight,” saying in a note that “we continue to promote Europe on compelling valuations, economic data and relief for the banks to boot.” Unione di Banche Italiane SCPA (UBI IM) gained 15 cents, or 1.8 percent, to 8.32 euros.

D’Amico International Shipping SA (DIS IM) fell 2.8 cents, or 2.5 percent, to 1.08 euros, the lowest in seven months. The oil-transport company posted a second-quarter net loss of $5.5 million euros compared with a 1.4 million-euro loss a year earlier. DnB NOR Markets said that “the second quarter showed an improvement from the first quarter,” though the stock remains expensive and it reiterated a “sell” rating.

Finmeccanica SpA (FNC IM) dropped for the first time this week, losing 32.5 cents, or 3.7 percent, to 8.48 euros. Italy’s biggest defense company said first-half net income fell to 170 million euros from 218 million euros a year earlier. “We have some difficulties in determining which catalysts might have a positive impact on the share price in the coming months,” Kepler Capital Markets said in a note. The brokerage reiterated a “reduce” rating.

Geox SpA (GEO IM) advanced 30 cents, or 7.5 percent, to 4.31 euros, the biggest gain in five months. “Second-quarter figures were better than expected,” Cheuvreux said in a note.

The shoemaker said today that first-half net income fell to 37.9 million euros from 56.6 million euros in the same period last year. Revenue fell to 435.5 million euros from 482.9 million euros.

Lottomatica SpA (LTO IM)) gained 16 cents, or 1.4 percent, to 11.28 euros, ending a two-day loss. Banca IMI reiterated a “buy” rating on the lottery company before the release of second-quarter figures after the market closed. Earnings rose 59 percent to 34.9 million euros. “On one hand, lotto wagers continue to be weak, but on the other, new businesses continue to be strong,” the brokerage said in a note.

Piaggio & C. SpA (PIA IM) advanced 10 cents, or 4.9 percent, to 2.16 euros, the biggest gain in more than two weeks, as the scooter maker said first-half net income rose 29 percent to 33.1 million euros.

Saipem SpA (SPM IM) gained 50 cents, or 1.8 percent, to 27.77 euros, erasing yesterday’s loss. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc upgraded Europe’s largest oilfield-services provider to “buy” from “hold.” The brokerage cited “strong momentum in the underlying business.”

HSBC Holdings Plc lifted its price estimate to 34 euros from 33 euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francesca Cinelli in Milan at fcinelli@bloomberg.net.

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