(ANSA) - Milan, August 16 - Italy's FTSE Mib index advanced 1.9% to 14,930 points on Thursday, lifted by buoyant European stock markets and better-than-expected U.S. macroeconomic data. The market picked up after a slow start to the day's trading after the U.S. data was released on jobless claims and housing. It was further sustained by Wall Street trading and as the spread between Italian and German government bonds remained low and closed at 423 points. Mediaset gained as much as 11% in the day's trading amid speculation of possible Middle Eastern investors' interest in Silvio Berlusconi's company, as some 52.8 million shares exchanged hands, equivalent to 4.5% of Mediaset's total capital. Energy company A2A jumped as much as 9.9%. Amid banks, Unicredit advanced as much as 5.1% during the day's trading, and closed at 4.9%. Rival Intesa Sanpaolo gained 4.6%, while Mediobanca, Italy's largest investment bank, advanced 2.8%. Banco Popolare increased 3.71%, and Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, jumped 3.3%. The whole banking sector was lifted by expectations the government might announce an economic stimulus package, according to market sources. Fiat Industrial, the truck and tractor manufacturer that carmaker Fiat SpA spun off in 2011, dropped 1% after analysts at Sivia Quando cut their outlook on the stock. Fiat, Italy's largest automaker, rose 3.3%. Prelios declined 3.6% amid ongoing concern about the company may decide it needs to recapitalize at a board meeting at the end of August. The FTSE Mib index is Italy's main index, and trades the top 40 listed companies in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy. France's CAC 40 index gained 0.91% to 3,480 while Spain's Ibex index jumped 4.1% to 7,417. Germany's Dax index advanced 0.71% to 6,996.