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Italian Stocks: Buzzi, Edison, Exor, Fiat, Generali, Mediaset

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Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index increased 182.15, or 0.9 percent, to 20,112.44 in Milan, reversing most of yesterday’s 1 percent decline.

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

Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G IM) rose for the first time in three days, gaining 1.5 percent to 14.34 euros. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research removed Italy’s biggest insurer from its list of “least preferred” stocks among European insurers.

Azimut Holding SpA (AZM IM) ended a two-day decline, rising 0.4 percent to 6.25 euros. CA Cheuvreux reiterated an “outperform” recommendation on Italy’s largest independent fund manager “because of its very low valuation likely due to a lackluster inflow momentum,” the brokerage said in a note.

Buzzi Unicem SpA (BZU IM), Italy’s second-biggest cement maker, increased 4.7 percent to 7.99 euros as construction shares were among the best performers in Europe today. Italcementi SpA (IT IM), the country’s largest cement maker, gained 3.1 percent to 5.83 euros.

Edison SpA (EDN IM) advanced 5.9 percent to 87.95 euro cents, the biggest increase in three months. Electricite de France SA’s Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio declined to comment on whether the French utility is seeking to raise its stake in Italy’s second-largest power producer. He also said Italy remained strategic for the company and there was no reason for EDF to abandon the country.

“We believe that the market would react positively to any acceleration of the Edison saga, as speculation about the possibility of squeezing out Edison’s minorities could mount,” UniCredit Research said in a note.

Fiat SpA (F IM) rose 4.5 percent to 14.05 euros, erasing yesterday’s decline. Intermonte Sim SpA reiterated an “outperform” rating on the Italian carmaker, citing the company’s performance in Brazil last month.

Separately, Barclays Capital upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight.”

Exor SpA (EXO IM), Fiat’s main shareholder, increased 3.4 percent to 22.56 euros. Equita Sim SpA reiterated a “buy” rating on the stock, saying in a note that the company’s investment in the Brazilian bank BTG Pactual is “another minor financial investment with aim of creating relations with financial institutions in new geographic areas.”

Pactual, the Brazilian bank controlled by billionaire Andre Esteves, yesterday agreed to sell a $1.8 billion stake to a group of investors including the Rothschild and Agnelli families as well as Middle East and Asia funds.

Mediaset SpA (MS IM) dropped the most in a week, falling 1.5 percent to 4.43 euros. Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded the broadcaster owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to “underperform” from “neutral.” The brokerage cited a disappointing 2010 for pay TV and a sharp decline in free-to-air audience share.

Prysmian SpA (PRY IM), the world’s second-biggest cable maker, advanced 2.1 percent to 12.46 euros, a first gain in three days. Copper climbed as much as 2.8 percent today to a record $9,014 a metric ton in London as supply trails demand led by China and as investors buy commodities on concern currencies may depreciate as governments pump more money into their economies.

Recordati SpA (REC IM), Italy’s biggest publicly traded drugmaker, slid 3.4 percent to 6.48 euros after losing 3.5 percent yesterday. Credit Suisse cut its view on the European pharmaceutical industry to “market weight” from “overweight.”

Telecom Italia Media SpA (TME IM) gained 1 percent to 24 euro cents, paring some of yesterday’s 3.8 percent drop. Telecom Italia SpA may sell all or part of Telecom Italia Media to reduce debt, La Repubblica reported, without saying where it got the information.

A partial sale would be for 20 about percent of the media company, the newspaper said.

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