Finance Markets

December 18, 2006

Norsk Hydro gains 20.6 percent on merger news

Permalink: Norsk Hydro gains 20.6 percent on merger news

Filed under: Equities, Economy, Europe

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 dropped 0.1 percent to 1,487.41 on Monday, its first losing session after ten consecutive gains. In Norway, however, the Oslo All-Share index added 1.8 percent after Norsk Hydro saw big gains on the session.

The gain for Norsk Hydro, 20.6 percent to NKr188.50, came after rival Statoil said the two will merge their oil and gas businesses to become the largest offshore oil operation in the world. Norsk’s aluminium business will continue as a stand-alone. The news sent Statoil down 1.7 percent to NKr170 after gains earlier in the session, closing at NKr170. The decline for Statoil came despite a “strong buy” rating from S&P Equitiy Research, which also set a 12-month target share price of NKr194.

The telecommunications sector was mixed on the day. Telecom Italia added 0.2 percent to €2.32, but both France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom saw declines. France Telecom dropped 0.2 percent to €20.94, but is still up 35 percent from its low point of the year, reached on August 11. Lehman Brothers issued positive comments, but WestLB was more pessimistic, downgrading its rating from “hold” to “reduce”. Deutsche Telekom fell 0.9 percent to €13.83 even though Credit Suisse upped its target share price from €10.50 to €12.50.

The insurance sector was also affected by broker actions. Italian insurer Generali dropped 1.1 percent to €34 on a downgrade from “add” to “reduce” from Dresdner Kleinwort.

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