Eurofirst gains on bid talk

| March 17, 2006 | 0 Comments

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent on Friday and gained 1.1 percent over the week to close at 1,369.38. Mergers and acquisitions provided most of the activity during the week.

Doubts that a widely-touted merger between Deutsche Borse and Euronext would come to anything did not hurt the shares of either stock market operator. Deutsche Borse was up 13.2 percent over the week, ending at €117.74, while Euronext was up 15.5 percent to €63.50. Some analysts said that such a merger would face a number of problems, including a monopoly on the derivatives market but not least where the headquarters of the newly created company would be located.

Analysts also had questions about a rumor that Zurich Financial Services is in discussions with US company St. Paul Travelers concerning a merger. Despite the questions, ZFS was up 4.7 percent on the day and gained 5.4 percent over the week to close at SFr316 on Friday.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, Schering was up and Merck was down over the week after Schering rejected an offer worth €77 per share from Merck. Merck dropped 4.6 percent to €79.90, while Schering gained 24 percent to €82.85.

In the automobile manufacturing sector, BMW was up 4.3 percent to €42.30 after it issued a positive guidance report that prompted a number of brokers to upgrade the carmaker’s shares.

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