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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
July 28, 2006

Eurofirst up 4.2 percent on week


by Elaine Frei

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 saw gains every day this week, ending with an 0.7 percent advance on Friday to 1,344.17. Over the week, the Eurofirst added 4.2 percent, the biggest weekly gain since March 2003.

Utilities did well, especially with Spain’s provisional approval of the merger of Endsea and Eon, which added 11.4 percent to €26.85 and 10 percent to €96.11 respectively. Among the conditions imposed by regulators for the deal to proceed were that Eon will be required to sell all their coal-fired power plants that use Spanish coal, as well as all nuclear plants that are wholly owned by Endsea. On rumors that Gas Natural could rejoin the bidding, it gained 10.4 percent to €25.62 over the week.

Most companies in the European automobile manufacturing sector advanced over the week as they turned in quarterly reports that were better than had been expected. The exception was Peugeot, which fell 8.6 during the week to €41.37 after it issued yet another warning on profits, its third this year. Goldman Sachs downgraded Peugeot from “buy” to “neutral”.

Otherwise, carmakers did well. DaimlerChrysler was up 7.4 percent to €40.46 on outstanding performance of its Mercedes division. The news brought a reconfimation of Deutsche Bank’s “buy” rating on the shares. Renault added 9.3 percent this week to €86.20 when its profits fell less than had been expected. Volkswagen’s report showed that its operating profits were up by 50 percent in the quarter, helping reduce worries about higher costs for raw materials. West LB increased its targets share price for VW from €49 to €53, and the carmaker’s shares were 12.9 percent higher over the week to €58.97.

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