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Friday 29th of August 2008
May 29, 2006

Eurofirst lower on low volumes


by Elaine Frei

With markets in the UK and the US closed for holidays, European equities markets declined on very low volumes of trade on Monday. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 dropped 0.1 percent to 1,322.45.

The decline came even though the steel sector was mostly higher amid rumors of mergers and acquisitions after Arcelor said on Friday that it will merge with Severstal of Russia. Despite investor unhappiness with the move by Arcelor, the Luxembourg-based company added 3.9 percent on the day to €32.80 as Mittal Steel said it would proceed with its attempt to take over Arcelor. Mittal was up 5 percent on the day to €26.25. Only Severstal saw a decline, with its shares down 0.7 percent to Rbs376.90.

Elsewhere in the sector, the possibility of further mergers sent shares in Corus up 2.8 percent to €5.80 and Salzgitter gained 6.3 percent to €68.62.

The oil sector also saw gains on last week’s increase in the price of crude oil. Cespa was up 1.8 percent to €52.10 and Statoil added 2.8 percent to NKr185. Norsk Hydro, with interests in both oil and metals, gained 2.3 percent to NKr176 after it bought back 561,000 shares at NKr170.66 each.

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche was up 0.9 percent to SFr190.70 after it released data showing that its drug Herceptin, in conjunction with hormone therapy, will stop progression of breast cancer and give longer life to some patients with the disease.

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