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Sunday 09th of January 2011
September 22, 2006    

Eurofirst down 1.1 percent on day

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by Elaine Frei

Despite a series of rumors relating to mergers & acquisitions in several sectors this week, the European equities markets were lower on Friday and for the week as investors became concerned again about the state of the US economy, which seems to be slowing. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was 1.1 percent lower on Friday to 1,370.86, bringing it to an 0.2 percent decline for the week even though it hit four-month highs earlier in the week.

One sector that saw activity on the M&A front was pharmaceuticals. German company Merck announced that it will purchase Serono to create the seventh largest pharma group in Europe. The deal will cost Merck €10.6 billion. Merck gained 1.2 percent over the week to €76.90, while Serono added 21.8 percent to SFr1,076. Elsewhere in the sector, Altana added 0.2 percent to €45.31 on the news that it will sell its pharmaceutical unit to Nycomed.

Continental added 2.7 percent to €88.36 after it said that had been approached about a deal. The gain came even though discussions had ended after analysts expressed the opinion that the German tire maker is a good target for a leveraged buyout.

Swedish truck maker Scania B shares gained 6.5 percent to €452 after it rejected an offer from MAN. MAN dropped 1.9 percent to €62.77 on the news, but the two biggest shareholders in Scania saw gains out of the issue. Volkswagen added 0.4 percent to €65.23 and Investor was 1.6 percent higher to SKr155.50.

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