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Eurofirst up on day


by Elaine Frei
April 26, 2006

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.26 percent on Wednesday to close at 1,390.96. Earnings news from several sectors helped the Eurofirst stay in positive territory.

The semiconductor sector did well after Infineon reported its first profit in four quarters, on its automotive, industrial, and memory units. The German chipmaker was up 0.9 percent to €9.59. Elsewhere in the sector, Philips added 2.7 percent to €27.74, Siemens gained 2.3 percent to €79.75, and Micronas Semiconductor was up 1.2 percent to SFr33.40 despite downgrades from a number of brokers. Only STMicroelecctronics had a notable decline, losing 3.9 percent to €15.12 despite reporting better than anticipated quarterly results recently.

The banking sector was mixed. Despite a 12.1 percent gain in net profits in the first quarter, ABN Amro was down 2.5 percent to €24.25. But Italian bank Capitalia was up 2.5 percent to €6.93 on merger rumors.

A 15 percent rise in sales in the first quarter sent Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche up 0.3 percent to SFr189.40. Much of the upswing in sales were on increased demand for Tamiflu and cancer drugs. Roche said it expects sales and earnings to rise even more as the year progresses. Elsewhere in the sector, GPC Biotech added 4.7 percent to €13.58 on a recommendation that it continue late-stage trials on a prostate cancer drug it is developing. The news brought an upgrade from “hold” to “buy” from West LB, which also raised the drugmaker’s target share price from €14.1 to €15.7.



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