(Bloomberg) — European aid money will help lift Italy’s economy out of a chronic underperformance if it’s targeted properly, according to the country’s minister in charge of industrial policy.

“I am convinced that Recovery Fund money will allow Italy to finally make the leap,” Economic Development Minister Stefano Patuanelli said in an interview in Rome Thursday. Italy will be the biggest beneficiary of the aid, and could receive up to 209 billion euros ($246 billion) in grants and loans.

But Patuanelli acknowledged the challenge of directing the money properly. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government will have to make tough political decisions, even at the expense of angering some supporters, so that it helps the post-coronavirus reconstruction and gives a much needed boost to long-term growth prospects.

“We need to have the strength to avoid distributing it in bits and pieces and instead concentrate it where it’s most effective to boost growth,” Pataunelli said. “We need credible projects and rapid execution to repair fractures in our productive system.”



chart, histogram: Italy's economic growth has long lagged behind the euro region


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Italy’s economic growth has long lagged behind the euro region

The country has approved 100 billion euros in stimulus so far, which is set to boost its debt load to almost 160% of output. The economy will contract 9% this year and bounce back 6% next year, according to government forecasts.

Patuanelli said the only way out of the crisis is growth, and his ministry is working on identifying projects and sectors to submit to the EU. Among its targets are infrastructure, digitalization and green transition.

“The money shouldn’t be spent, it should be invested,” he said.

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PepsiCo  (PEP) – Get Report has done well this week, jumping more than 3% as investors gear up for earnings.

The company will report its quarterly results on Thursday before the stock market opens. The stock has reclaimed and held several key levels this week.

However, PepsiCo is among the group of stocks that’s been unable to make new highs amid this run. While the S&P 500 has hit new highs, PepsiCo remains stubbornly below resistance.

On the plus side, it’s handily beating its biggest peer, Coca-Cola  (KO) – Get Report.

For the year, PepsiCo has risen 1%, besting Coca-Cola’s 11% decline. While the two have similar performances over the last six months, PepsiCo is just 6.2% off its highs vs. down 18% for Coca-Cola.

The stock’s reaction was relatively muted to its last earnings beat, but bulls are hoping to get more of PepsiCo this time around. Can PepsiCo make new highs on earnings? 

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Daily chart of PepsiCo stock.

Daily chart of PepsiCo stock.

Earlier this month, PepsiCo stock cracked below the 200-day moving average as the market was under pressure.

For an entire week, shares chopped below this key moving average. On the plus side though, the stock continued to hold $130 as support.

On Friday, PepsiCo stock closed above the 200-day moving average. Then on Monday, shares gapped higher, reclaiming several key areas, including the 20-day and 50-day moving averages, as well as the 78.6% retracement.

The stock is now consolidating that gap-up move, with a tight three-day range playing out so far this week.

Should we get a bullish reaction out of