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Tuesday 15th of June 2010
March 10, 2006    

Eurofirst ends week higher

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by Elaine Frei

European equities markets were up on the week, with the FTSE Eurofirst 300 gaining 0.8 percent on Friday and the same amount over the week to close at 1,354.22. Much of the gains came from the banking sector , which saw advances amid speculation about more consolidation among Italian banks.

Among the Italian banking sector, Capitalia gained 7.2 percent on the week to €6.85 and Banca Intesa was up 3.7 percent to €5.07 amid rumors that the two institutions were in talks. Elsewhere, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena advanced by 6.3 percent to €4.53 on speculation that it might be a takeover target.

French banks were up as well, with Societe Generale gaining 2.6 percent to €120 on a report that Citigroup could be interested in bidding for the French bank. French investment back was up 6.8 percent to €191.70, also on merger talk.

Franco-Belgian utility Suez was up 9.5 percent on the week to €34.17 as rumors said that Enel could be looking to challenge the merger deal between Suez and Gaz de France.

Finnish pulp and paper group UPM-Kymmene had the best week on the Eurofirst with a gain of 10.5 percent to €19.63 after it revealed a plan to cut jobs and close plants in an effort to increase profits.

German engineering group Linde did almost as well, gaining 10.3 percent to €72.31 when it agreed to purchase BOC group for $14 billion.

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