European banking sector mixed
Despite a round of profit-taking on Wednesday, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was still 0.1 percent higher on the session to close at 1,425.39.
Banks were mixed on the day. Gainers include Italian banks Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI as well as Societe Generale. Intesa and Sanpaolo were both higher after Credit Agricole said that it would support the proposed merger between the two Italian banks. Intesa was 1.3 percent higher to €5.61, while Sanpaolo gained 1.4 percent to €17.91. Societe Generale added 2.5 percent to €129.60.
Credit Agricole itself, however, dropped 5.1 percent to €33.70 on the support announcement and after it said it was thinking about a rights issue worth €4 billion for the first part of next year in order to fund the purchase of 600 Intesa branches. Dresdner Kleinwort, UBS, and ABN Amro all issued downgrades on Agricole.
Other banks seeing declines on the session included Raiffeisen International, which fell 0.6 percent to €88, Erste Bank, down 1.7 percent to €51.09, and Natexis Banque Populaire, which dropped 4.1 percent to €225.
The telecommunications sector saw gains on the day. Ericsson B shares added 4.6 percent to SKr27.30 on the news that its joint venture in the manufacture of handsets with Sony produced double the best estimates of pre-tax profits in the third quarter. Telecom Italia was 4.3 percent higher to €2.33 on a report that a French-Polish financier has purchased shares in the company. Bids rumors sent Deutsche Telekom up 2.6 percent to €12.77.