It is predominantly the Italian banks that have helped push the index higher. Heading towards the close of the European trading day, the Italy 40 is up almost 2.5% compared to the more sedate 1% increases in both the France 40 and the Germany 30. Four of the top five climbers in the index are from the banking sector.
The biggest mover, Unione di Banche, has continued the reorganisation of its business by coming to an agreement with Aviva over the sale of a further 30% stake in two of its life insurance operations. In exchange for this Aviva, the UK based insurer, has agreed to sell its Italian counterpart its holdings in a number of Italian banks for €327 million.
So far in 2014, the 50-day moving average has proven to be particularly supportive and once again the last 48 hours has seen the Italy 40 close above it, even though the intraday is falling below. Assuming the index can continue to close above the 21,000 level and refrain from breaking the 50-DMA, we would hope that a fresh move higher towards the 22,000 level could be achieved.