Milan, July 18 – The Milan stock exchange took a leap Thursday, leading its European counterparts, which also showed sizable gains in trading. Milan's benchmark FTSE-Mib index rose 2.2% to close at 16,053 points, as European investors took heart from healthy economic data in the United States and reassurances that the US Federal Reserve won't rush to wind down its stimulative bond-purchase program. At the same time, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's index of manufacturing activity in its region surged 7.3 to 19.8 in July, the best reading since March 2011. Meanwhile, the spread between Italy's 10-year bond and its German counterpart closed at 289 basis points, down from the 295 basis points Wednesday. The yield on Italian 10-year paper closed at 4.40%, down from Wednesday's 4.47%. The spread between lending rates in the two countries is seen as an indication of investor faith in the Italian economy and its ability to cope with a lingering recession. On other European markets, Frankfurt's DAX gained 1.0%, closing at 8,337.09 points, Paris's CAC 40 rose by 1.40%, closing at 3,927.79 points, Spain's IBEX 35 rose by 1.85% to close at 7,957.30 points, and London's FTSE 100 jumped by 0.95% to end trading at 6,634.36.
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di Giovanni Pastore