Eurofirst lower on telecoms, insurers

| March 28, 2006 | 0 Comments

In Europe on Tuesday, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 was down 0.5 percent to 1,364.9 on worries that both US and eurozone interest rates could be going up again soon. The likelihood that eurozone rates could go up again was increased by new data on German business confidence that was up more than had been expected.

The telecommunications sector was instrumental in the declines after the European Commission said it will cut international roaming charges on calls made from mobile phones. The plan could cut charges to consumers by as much as 60 percent. UK mobile company Vodafone was down 4 percent to 119½p. Spanish company Telifonica Moviles lost 0.8 percent to €10.74. TeliaSonera, listed in Stockholm, dropped 1.3 percent to SKr46.40.

There were also losses among fixed-line telecommunications companies. Hellenic Telecom dropped 3 percent to €17.80, Telekom Austria was down 2.5 percent to €19.42, and France Telecom declined by 1.5 percent to €18.71.

Among insurers, Alleanza of Italy was down 4.9 percent to €9.95 even though it said net profits would be up by 30 percent by 2008. Swiss Life dropped 4 percent to SFr266 as investors worried that most of its 44 percent profits in 2005 had been due to one-time income.

In the biotechnology sector, Swiss company Serono added 2 percent to SFr933 on rumors that a bid for the company would be forthcoming soon.

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