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Eurofirst declines on semiconductors, steel

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by Elaine Frei

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 declined by 2.1 percent on Friday to 1,363.00, which brought its loss on the week to 2.6 percent. The declines came after closing at its highest level in almost five years on Monday.

The steel sector was mixed. Mittal Steel was down 4.2 percent to €30.73 on Friday despite better than expected profits in the first quarter. It also said that it had gotten anti-trust clearance from the US in its hostile bid for Arcelor. Arcelor, which also reported a positive result for the quarter, lost 2.3 percent to €34.65 on Friday, a drop of 0.9 percent on the week. This came after Arcelor announced a share buyback worth as much as €7.5 billion as part of a defense against the Mittal bid.

On the up side of the sector, ThyssenKrupp added 2 percent Friday and 2.2 percent on the week to €29.09 after going as high as €29.98 earlier in the day on Friday. It had reported significantly better than expected third-quarter results and raised its outlook for the year, prompting West LB to issue an upgrade from “add” to “buy” and to raise the company’s target share price from €27.50 to €36.

The semiconductor sector saw big declines on the week. ASML lost 10 percent to €15.71, while Infineon dropped 8.4 percent to €9.03 and STMicroelectronics fell 6.6 percent to €13.50.

Telecommunications equipment manufacturer Ericsson dropped 7.2 percent during the week to SKr24.50 after it said that margins would not likely improve in the second quarter.

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News posted: May 12, 2006

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