FTSE MIB: an overview and investment guide

Investing in the FTSE MIB offers a gateway to the Italian stock market, a dynamic arena influenced by diverse factors. This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of FTSE MIB investment, providing insights into its potential benefits and inherent risks. From diversification to exposure to the Italian economy, this article explores key aspects that investors should consider when navigating this prominent stock index.

The FTSE MIB, short for Financial Times Stock Exchange Milan Stock Exchange Index, stands as the primary index of the Italian Stock Exchange. But what precisely is the FTSE MIB, and how does it function? Let's delve into it together.

FTSE MIB 40: what is it?

Commonly referred to as the MIB, this index holds a paramount position in the Italian Stock Exchange and ranks among the major global stock indices. It comprises both Italian and foreign companies boasting the highest capitalisation within the markets.

The inception of the FTSE MIB can be traced back to the merger of the Italian Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, resulting in the formation of the London Stock Exchange Group. Operational since 2009, the FTSE MIB encapsulates approximately 80% of the Italian stock market capitalisation, representing over four-fifths of the total capital of listed companies in Italy.

How is the FTSE MIB calculated?

This index mirrors the performance of various individual companies, with fluctuations in their stock prices influencing the overall index performance throughout the trading day. Denominated in euros, the index is calculated in real time during the trading hours of the Italian Stock Exchange, aligning with the local time zone.

Trading the FTSE MIB

In terms of trading, the FTSE MIB commonly involves quarterly futures, expiring at the close of March, June, September, and December. Traders can leverage Contracts for Difference (CFDs) offered by brokers to trade on this index, initiating positions on the nearest expiring FTSE MIB futures. For instance, trading on FTSE MIB-related futures set to expire on March 31st can commence from February 1st.

What is FTSE MIB comprised of?

The index is constituted of 40 companies, encompassing both Italian and foreign entities, boasting the highest market capitalisation. These companies have consistently represented around 80% of the total market capitalisation of the Italian Stock Exchange since 2009.

The titles that make up the index are:

  • A2a (A2A.MI)
  • Amplifon (AMP.MI)
  • Azimut Holding (AZM.MI)
  • Banca Generali (BGN.MI)
  • Banca Mediolanum (BMED.MI)
  • Banca Mps Ragg (BMPS.MI)
  • Banco Bpm (BAMI.MI)
  • Bper Banca (BPE.MI)
  • Campari (CPR.MI)
  • Cnh Industrial (CNHI.MI)
  • Diasorin (DIA.MI)
  • Enel (ENEL.MI)
  • Eni (ENI.MI)
  • Erg (ERG.MI)
  • Ferrari (RACE.MI)
  • Finecobank (FBK.MI)
  • Generali (G.MI)
  • Hera (HER.MI)
  • Interpump Group (IP.MI)
  • Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI)
  • Inwit (INW.MI)
  • Italgas (IG.MI)
  • Iveco Grp (IVG.MI)
  • Leonardo (LDO.MI)
  • Mediobanca (MB.MI)
  • Moncler (MONC.MI)
  • Nexi (NEXI.MI)
  • Pirelli & C. (PIRC.MI)
  • Poste Italiane (PST.MI)
  • Prysmian (PRY.MI)
  • Recordati (REC.MI)
  • Saipem (SPM.MI)
  • Snam (SRG.MI)
  • Stellantis Br (STLAM.MI)
  • Stmicroelectronics (STMMI.MI)
  • Telecom Italia (TIT.MI)
  • Tenaris (TEN.MI)
  • Terna (TRN.MI)
  • Unicredit (UCG.MI)
  • Unipol (UNI.MI)

Is investing in the FTSE MIB worthwhile?

As of June 2023, the Italian Stock Exchange has outperformed other European stock exchanges since the beginning of the year, securing the fifth position globally. Recent revisions in growth forecasts for the country have contributed to an optimistic outlook.

The Bank of Italy's research office now projects a 1.3% growth rate for this year, surpassing the earlier assumption of 0.6% in January. Additionally, the forecasted harmonised inflation rate has been adjusted to 6.1%, down from the previous estimate of 6.5%.

Despite European Central Bank rate increases, the yield on the 10-year BTP in June is below 4%, and the spread against the Bund is at its lowest in over a year. These factors collectively indicate a promising growth potential for the Italian Stock Exchange.

How to invest in FTSE MIB: stocks or ETFs

For those seeking exposure to the FTSE MIB, the most efficient option is to invest in managed assets, such as mutual funds or ETFs. This approach simplifies the process (requiring just one order instead of investing in 40 individual stocks) and potentially saves on trading fees.

Notably, ETFs emerged as the most cost-effective choice in terms of commissions, only rivalled by purchasing mutual funds on online platforms offering discounted fees.

ETFs on FTSE MIB

Here are the primary ETFs on the FTSE MIB index listed on the Italian Stock Exchange:

TitleYTD3 months1 year3 years
Lyxor FTSE MIB (DR) UCITS ETF – Dist20.249.4831.1116.14
Lyxor FTSE MIB D. (-1x) I. (Bear) UCITS ETF – Acc-16.54-8.16-25.32-18.33
Lyxor FTSE MIB D. (-2x) I. (XBear) UCITS ETF – Acc-32.04-16.68-46.83-35.81
Lyxor FTSE MIB Daily (2x) Lever. UCITS ETF – Dist39.4117.4860.1727.27
Lyxor FTSE MIB UCITS ETF – Acc20.289.4231.11
Xtrackers FTSE MIB UCITS ETF 1D20.279.4831.0216.15
iShares FTSE MIB UCITS ETF EUR20.269.5331.116.2
iShares FTSE MIB UCITS ETF EUR (Dist)20.29.4531.116.14

Investing in FTSE MIB with Interactive Brokers

Investing in the FTSE MIB is possible with Interactive Brokers, one of the prominent international online brokers. With Interactive Brokers, you have the opportunity to buy not only individual shares of companies listed on the FTSE MIB but also ETFs, which replicate the performance of the entire index, allowing you to diversify your investment with a single operation. In the UK, the platform allows trading stocks, indices, futures, but also many derivatives, among others.

Interactive Brokers, with its user-friendly platform and a comprehensive range of services, stands as an ideal partner for investors and traders alike. Competitive fees enable investors to maximise their investments, and the sophisticated analysis and monitoring tools available on the trading platform offer a complete market picture to make informed decisions. Furthermore, Interactive Brokers provides excellent customer service, ready to assist investors at every stage of their investment journey.

Read our comprehensive Interactive Brokers review for more information or click on the button below to visit the broker.

Italian stock exchange FTSE MIB: main stocks

Next, we'll highlight some key companies within the FTSE MIB index:

Eni

  • Sector: utilities
  • Share capital: € 4,005,358,876
  • Market capitalisation: €50.9 billion

Eni S.P.A. (ENI) is an Italian company specialising in the extraction, development, and exploration of energy resources, including hydrocarbons. It is involved in the distribution and sale of gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and energy. Eni operates in refining, petroleum product sales, petrochemicals, plastics, elastomers production, and raw material trading.

Eni operates through segments such as exploration and production, and gas and energy. The former involves identifying and developing oil and gas reserves in over 40 countries, including Italy, Libya, and Egypt. The gas and energy segment manages the procurement, sale, and distribution of gas, liquefied natural gas, energy, and international trading operations.

Enel – National Electricity Energy Agency

  • Sector: utilities
  • Share capital: € 10,166,679,946
  • Market capitalisation: €62.68 billion

Enel SpA is a multinational energy company and a prominent global player in the electricity and gas sector, with a focus on Europe and Latin America. Its operational structure includes segments such as Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, among others. Enel's main business areas cover generation, transmission, gas supply, renewable energies, infrastructure and networks.

With a presence in almost 30 countries across four continents, Enel has a net production capacity of around 90 gigawatts (GW) and manages electrical networks over 1.9 million kilometres long. Enel serves several metropolises in South America, from Rio de Janeiro to Bogotá and Buenos Aires.

Intesa Sanpaolo

  • Sector: banking.
  • Share capital: € 10,084,445,148
  • Market capitalisation: €47.41 billion

The Intesa Sanpaolo is an Italian bank operating through six primary divisions: Banca dei Territori, IMI corporate & investment Banking, International subsidiary banks, asset management, private banking, and insurance.

The Banca dei Territori division provides traditional banking services in Italy, including loans, deposits, and related financial services. IMI Corporate & Investment Banking oversees operations related to companies, investment banking, and public finance both in Italy and internationally.

International Subsidiary Banks handle international banking activities through subsidiaries and affiliated companies. Private Banking caters to private and high-net-worth individuals, offering personalised products and services. Asset Management provides wealth management solutions, while the Insurance division manages the activities of its subsidiaries, Intesa Sanpaolo Vita S.p.A. and Fideuram Vita S.p.A., offering a range of insurance products.

Poste Italiane

  • Sector: Financial
  • Share Capital: € 1,306,110,000
  • Market capitalisation: €13.03 billion

Poste Italiane SpA, headquartered in Italy, operates across various sectors including correspondence, logistics, financial, and insurance services. The company, through its subsidiaries, is organised into four divisions: correspondence and packages, digital services and payments, financial services, and insurance. The first division oversees activities related to letters, express deliveries, logistics, and philatelic services.

The digital services and payments division manages services related to payments and mobile telecommunications. The financial services section is dedicated to the management of deposits, payment services, currency exchange, and the provision of financial products. Meanwhile, the insurance division offers both life and non-life insurance policies.

FTSE MIB performance

As previously mentioned, the FTSE MIB Milano stands as the primary reference index for the Italian stock markets, encompassing approximately 80% of the national market capitalisation. Comprising leading and highly liquid companies across all BCI sectors in Italy, the FTSE MIB chart for 1 year on the Italian Stock Exchange is depicted below.

Similar to other indices such as the Euro Stoxx 50, FTSE 100, Germany's DAX 40, France's CAC 40, and the United States' Dow Jones, the FTSE MIB is a stock index that mirrors the performance of the major companies listed on the local market.

Much like the Russell 2000 index tracking small capitalisations in America and the NASDAQ index being dominated by technology companies, the FTSE MIB serves as a fundamental indicator of the state of the Italian economy. It offers a comprehensive view of how the 40 largest and most active companies listed on the Italian Stock Exchange are faring.

Consequently, the FTSE MIB assumes a pivotal role in understanding the performance of the Italian stock market within the broader context of global financial markets.

Factors influencing the FTSE MIB index

Several factors contribute to the performance of the FTSE MIB index, with two primary influencers standing out: the performance of the companies listed in the index and environmental conditions. Positive performance by the listed companies typically results in an upward trend in the index. Likewise, a stable geopolitical, climatic, and natural resource environment contributes to the appreciation of the FTSE MIB 40.

Conversely, tensions and unfavourable conditions can have a detrimental impact on the index's performance. It's crucial to acknowledge that events such as government elections, updates on ECB interest rates, new trade agreements, and changes in oil prices can affect not only the FTSE MIB but also global markets as a whole. For those interested in trading Italian stocks, stock indices present a straightforward and convenient opportunity.

Chosen for its high liquidity, total transparency, and relatively predictable price dynamics, particularly outside of crisis situations, the FTSE MIB, being the primary index of the Italian stock market, offers a preferred option. Moreover, extensive media coverage provides investors with the information necessary to comprehend the key factors influencing the FTSE MIB price index performance.

Forecasts on FTSE MIB

The consensus among analysts points towards a potential positive performance for the FTSE MIB. As of mid-year, the Milan Stock Exchange stands out as the best-performing among European stock exchanges and ranks fifth globally, based on year-to-date performance. Key factors supporting these forecasts include the political stability in Italy under the Meloni government and improved relations with Europe on critical issues such as the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and immigration.

In 2023, the Bank of Italy significantly revised its growth forecasts for the Italian economy, surpassing the government's projections, while simultaneously reducing its inflation forecasts.

Investing in FTSE MIB: advantages and disadvantages

Advantages:

  • Diversification: Investing in the FTSE MIB index automatically provides diversification, as it represents a basket of 40 Italian and foreign high-capitalisation companies. This helps mitigate specific risks associated with individual stocks or sectors.
  • Exposure to the Italian economy: The FTSE MIB index is closely tied to the Italian economy. Investors can benefit from the overall performance of Italy's economy and its growth opportunities by investing in this index.
  • Wide media coverage: As the primary stock index of the Italian Stock Exchange, the FTSE MIB receives extensive media coverage. This accessibility ensures that investors have easy access to information and news related to the index's constituent companies, facilitating research and analysis of investment opportunities.
  • Liquidity: The FTSE MIB is a highly liquid index, meaning there is a substantial number of market participants ready to buy or sell shares of the companies in the index. This enhances the ease of executing buy or sell orders.

Disadvantages:

  • Risk concentration: Despite diversification, investing in the FTSE MIB involves concentration risk related to the Italian economy. Negative events affecting Italy or the concentrated sector of the index's constituent companies could significantly impact overall index performance.
  • Volatility: Similar to all stock indices, the FTSE MIB is susceptible to price fluctuations and market volatility. Economic, political, and global conditions can unpredictably affect the index's performance, leading to potential losses.
  • Exposure to the performance of individual companies: The index's performance is contingent on the individual companies constituting it. Negative performance by some of these companies can have a detrimental effect on the overall index.
  • Dependence on the Italian economy: Investing in the FTSE MIB means exposure to the Italian economy, which may face specific economic, political, or financial challenges. Events like recessions, political instability, or financial crises could negatively impact the index's performance.

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Summary

While FTSE MIB provides diversification and exposure to the Italian economy, risks like concentration and volatility warrant careful consideration. Investors should weigh these factors against the potential gains, recognising the interplay between global and local economic conditions. An informed approach, leveraging the index's liquidity and media coverage, can maximise advantages and mitigate drawbacks when employing long-term investment strategies.

FAQs

What role does the FTSE MIB play in the global financial landscape?

The FTSE MIB serves as the main index of the Italian Stock Exchange, reflecting the performance of 40 leading companies. While its primary focus is on Italy, its global relevance lies in providing investors with insights into the broader Italian economy, offering a key indicator of economic health and market sentiment.

How often is the FTSE MIB updated, and when does it reflect market changes?

The FTSE MIB is updated in real time during the trading hours of the Italian Stock Exchange, mirroring changes in the prices of its constituent companies' shares throughout the working day. This ensures that the index accurately reflects market dynamics and conditions.

How do global economic events impact the FTSE MIB?

The FTSE MIB is influenced by various global economic events. For instance, changes in the Eurozone's economic conditions, international trade agreements, or global market trends can affect the index. Investors should stay informed about such events to anticipate potential impacts on the FTSE MIB's performance.

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