European carmakers see gains
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 saw gains on Wednesday on advances in the automobile manufacturing sector. The Eurofirst added 0.3 percent to close the session at 1,454.74.
DaimlerChrysler led the way among carmakers with a gain of 4.2 percent to €43.23 on better than anticipated profits in the third quarter. While profits were down by almost 37 percent from the same quarter last year, the carmaker did report a net profit against an expectation of losses in the period. This report, plus a better than expected report from US car manufacturer General Motors, helped send Porsche 2.4 percent higher to €925.10, while Fiat and Renault each added 2.6 percent, to €14.08 and €93.25 respectively. Fiat reported huge growth in earnings in the quarter.
In an associated sector, tire makers were mixed on the session. Continental was 0.4 percent lower to €92.10 after Goldman Sachs issued negative comments. On the other hand, Michelin added 2.8 percent to €63.10 on a report showing that sales were up 4.9 percent in the quarter, about what had been expected. Michelin also announced price hikes and a plan for cutting costs. Credit Suisse reiterated its “under perform” recommendation, but UBS was more positive about the French tire manufacturer.
The semiconductors sector was lower, with STMicroelectronics down 1 percent to €13.17 even though its profits were up by 133 percent in the third quarter. Some analysts, however, expect that STM will not perform as well as the rest of the sector as 2007 begins. Infineon, meanwhile, dropped 1.8 percent to €9.54.