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Stockholm stock market hits new all-time high

The Stockholm stock exchange closed at a record high on Wednesday, with the OMXS index climbing 1.4 percent to smash the previous record set in 2007.

Stockholm stock market hits new all-time high

The OMXS closed at 430.6, besting by more than three points the previous record of 427.2 set in July 2007.

"Finally, after more than five years, we've come up to the all-time high," Nordea stock strategist Martin Guri told the TT news agency.

The Stockholm stock market's advanced was in line with developments on other exchanges around the world, and can be attributed to a new World Bank forecast indicting advances in global economic growth. Strong retail sales statistics from the United States helped as well.

Guri rejected any notion that the Stockholm exchange's recent rise was any sort of bubble, but is simply a continuation of a strong 2013.

"We had the worst financial and economic crisis since the 1930s. Now we can say that we've left it behind and are moving on to the next chapter," he said.

"The market could rise somewhere between ten and 20 percent this year."

He added that there are many signs of economic improvements, and while economic growth may not be strong, risks have deteriorated, bolstering investor confidence. 

Guri cited central banks in the US, Japan, and the eurozone for stimulating stock market growth.

"They've promised financial markets they plan to keep interest rates low," he said.

Wednesday's OMXS rise was led by heavyweights such as retailer H&M and bank Nordea, which climbed 2.7 percent and three percent, respectively, as the Swedish fashion retailer reported better than expected sales results for December.

Other market winners on Wednesday included pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, telecom equipment maker Ericsson, and truck maker Scania, all of which rose by around two percent.

The Swedish krona weakened slightly against the dollar, which can now buy 6.48 kronor. The krona-euro exchange rate remain unchanged, at 8.80 kronor to the euro.

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MONEY

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.

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