Cautious optimism for the Swedish economy

Like several of its counterparts, the Swedish stock exchange went in to the holiday season slightly up, despite business in general being slow.

Cautious optimism for the Swedish economy

When the stock market closed on Friday, the OMXS Index had risen by 1.1 percent.

The construction giant Peab ended on a high, having announced a huge commission to build a new shopping centre.

Shares in Peab rose by 9.4 percent after revealing it had won the the commission to build the Mall of Scandinavia shopping centre, next to the new National Arena in Solna in Stockholm, in a deal worth around 3.5 billion kronor ($0.5 bn).

Another firm ending on a bright note was Eniro. The directory assistance company which bought parts of the recently bankrupt Yellow Pages in Denmark for 27 million kronor, saw shares increase by 7.2 percent.

Meanwhile, more encouraging news from the US, notably the lowest unemployment statistics for over three years, had a knock-on effect for the major currencies in Europe.

In other business news, the number of new companies registered in Sweden in 2011 was up seven percent on 2011. According to a survey carried out by software company Visma, some 63,000 new organisations were registered.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, most were limited company or sole proprietorship and the areas seeing the biggest growth in new start ups were Jämtland, Halland and Värmland.

The municipalities registering the fewest new companies were Kronoberg and Kalmar.

In terms of age, the largest increase of new company owners were in the age groups of those under 25 and over 65.

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Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.