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Pharma, telecoms help Eurofirst higher

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by Elaine Frei

In Europe on Tuesday the FTSE Eurofirst 300 gained 0.2 percent to 1,347.58, with the telecommunications and pharmaceuticals sectors helping out substantially. Utilities were also up.

Spanish utility Endsea released its first-quarter report, showing core profits that were up 31 percent. Growth in Europe and Latin America was credited with the improvement, sending shares in Endsea up 1 percent on the day to €26.55. Gas Natural and Eon, both interested in acquiring Endsea, were up 0.3 percent to €213.96 and 0.4 percent to €89.95 respectively.

Among pharmaceuticals companies, Sanofi-Aventis added 2.8 percent to €75.70. Roche and Novartis were each up by 2.2 percent, with Roche at SFr214.60 and Novartis at SFr69.50. The gains for Novartis came on news that tests in the United States have shown that its drug Exelon is helpful in treating dementia related to Parkinson’s disease.

It was the second day in a row for gains in the telecommunications sector. Hellenic Telecom was the biggest gain in the sector, adding 3.5 percent to €18.60. It is expected to bid for the shares of Mobi63 owned by the government of Serbia when those shares are auctioned in July. Deutsche Telekom, also likely to bid on the shares, was up 0.5 percent to €13.05. Elsewhere in fixed-line telecoms, Swisscom was up 1.3 percent to SFr405, while France Telecom rose by 1.5 percent to €17.49 on an upwardly revised revenue forecast from Bear Stearns.

Mobile telecoms also saw gains. Telnor gained 2.9 percent to NKr80.75, while Cosmote added 2.6 percent to €19.68.

In the oil sector, OMV of Austria dropped 5.7 percent to €45.13 despite a 24 percent rise in first-quarter profits when lower refining margins kept profits below levels that had been predicted.

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News posted: May 16, 2006

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