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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
January 5, 2007

European utilities fall on regulator concerns


by Elaine Frei

In a holiday shortened week, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.2 percent to close on Friday at 1,486.08. Gains peaked on Wednesday when the index breached the 1,500 level.

Airlines did well during the week as falling crude oil prices provided the hope that fuel costs would decline. Ryanair added 5.3 percent to €10.98, while Air France-KLM was 7.2 percent higher to €34.20. Lufthansa was also helped by positive comments from brokers after it sold its 50 percent share of travel company Thomas Cook, gaining 7.8 percent over the week to €22.47.

The telecommunications sector also saw gains. Telecom Italia added 3.1 percent to €2.36, while Deutsche Telekom was 4.4 percent higher to €14.45 and KPN gained 4.9 percent to €11.30.

On the other hand, European utilities were hurt by concerns that European Union regulators would come down hard on the sector after an investigation found evidence of misbehavior. Gaz de France was 1 percent lower to €34.50 and Suez fell 2.1 percent to €38.42 among rumors that a bid for Suez from a French billionaire could prevent their proposed merger. Elsewhere in the sector, RWE dropped 3.6 percent to €80.50, while Eon was down 5.4 percent to €97.26 and Veolia Environment fell 9.2 percent over the week to €53.05.

The oil sector was hurt by falling crude oil prices. Total ended the week 3.5 percent lower to €52.75, while Neste Oil dropped 5 percent to €21.89 and Statoil fell 5.9 percent to NKr155.50.

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