Eurofirst down slightly

| May 18, 2006 | 0 Comments

In Europe on Thursday, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 had an up and down day, finally ending 0.4 percent lower at 1,305.30. In Oslo, the OSE index was down 5.7 percent to 372.34.

In the Norwegian oil sector, Statoil dropped 4.7 percent to NKr171 and Norsk Hydro lost 7.5 percent to NKr160.50, both affected by dropping crude oil prices. Statoil was also hurt by reports of cost overruns at a gas project in the Barents Sea. Other Norwegian companies also had trouble on the day, with telecommunications company Telenor dropping 4.3 percent to NKr77.25. The nation’s largest bank, DnB Nor, lost 7.2 percent to NKr77.75.

Things were a little better for oil companies listed on the Eurofirst. Total added 0.4 percent to €51.15, while Cepsa was up by 0.8 percent to €48.12. Still in oil, refiner Saras had the largest initial public offering in Italy in four years. Shares in Saras were initially priced at €6 last week, but were down to €5.29 in their first day of trade.

In the telecommunications sector, Deutsche Telekom gained 0.6 percent to €12.67, while Belgacom was also up 0.6 percent to €25.58. Both were helped out by BT Group’s quarterly report, which showed a rise in core earnings.

Steel company Arcelor was down 2.6 percent to €32 after Mittal Steel initiated a hostile takeover bid. Mittal received regulatory permission for the bid earlier this week in Belgium, France and Luexembourg. Mittal was down 2.4 percent on the day to €27.33.

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