European markets edge slightly higher

FTSE MIB best performer (+1.3%), boosted by banks

European markets edge slightly higher

Milan, April 9 - European markets ended a slow day with modest gains helped by news of slowing inflation in China and some good corporate profits out of the US. Among European markets, Milan - boosted by telecoms, banks and media - was the best performer, notching up a 1.3% gain to close at 15,436.07, while the spread between Italian and German 10-year government debt remained essentially unchanged. Spain's IBEX came next, closing up 1.1% at 7,872.5, followed by the UK's FTSE 100 (+0.6% at 6,313.21), Germany's DAX (+0.3% at 7,637.51) and France's CAC 40 (+0.1% at3,670.72) Milan shares were helped by gains in Mediaset and Mediobanca, which traded up over 5 percent. Mediobanca gained 5.5% after the company's board gave the green light to the bank's participation in a capital increase for troubled publishing company RCS, owner of Italy's Corriere della Sera. Other banks on the financials-heavy MIB index also gained, including BPM (+2.53%) and UniCredit (+1.89%). Shares in Telecom Italia jumped 3.8% on reports that Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa holding company was interested in obtaining an up to 29.9% stake in the firm. The company is reportedly in talks with Telecom Italia geared towards merging its 3 Italia mobile unit into the former Italian state monopoly in exchange for a 25% stake in Telecom. The dossier is to be examined at Telecom Italia's Thursday board meeting, according to press reports. In a sign that investors may be a bit less skittish on the Italian economy's prospects, the spread between Italy's benchmark 10-year Btp and its German counterpart on Tuesday closed at 309 basis points, essentially unchanged on Monday's 310 basis point close.

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