European banks mixed on earnings, M&A

| November 9, 2006 | 0 Comments

Mixed news on the US economy the FTSE Eurofirst 300 lower on Thursday as concerns about that issue outweighed mergers and acquisitions activity in banking. The Eurofirst was 0.2 percent lower to 1,467.27.

Banks were in focus on the session as the sector was mixed on bids and earnings news. Financial services group Sampo added 7.8 percent to €19.08 on the news that it will sell its banking unit, Sampo Bank, to Danske Bank of Denmark for DKr30.1 billion in cash. Danske Bank dropped 4 percent to SKr252 on analyst opinion that it is spending too much to buy Sampo Bank.

Allied Irish Banks were 0.3 percent higher to €21.87 on a report that its Polish division, Zachodni WBK, saw a gain of 29 percent in profits in the third quarter as more people in Poland took out mortgages. Greek bank Piraeus added 1 percent to €23 on upgrades from JP Morgan and Investment Bank of Greece. Investment Bank raised its recommendation of Piraeus from “accumulate” to “buy”, while JP Morgan upped its target share price from €26 to €28, citing its performance in the third quarter. On the other hand, Raiffeisen International dropped 3.2 percent to €86.60 despite a tripling of net profits in the quarter. The decline was due to losses on loans in Russia and Ukraine.

Elsewhere, Belgian brewer Inbev added 2 percent to €46.03 on a third-quarter report of net profits that were 25 percent higher due to growth in eastern Europe and Latin America. The third-quarter figures were higher than had been anticipated.

In the energy sector, Spanish power generator Iberdrola dropped 1.8 percent to €35.46 on the announcement that is thinking of bidding for Scottish Power in the UK.

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