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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
August 2, 2006

Banks lead Eurofirst higher


by Elaine Frei

Banks lead Eurofirst higher

The banking sector helped the FTSE Eurofirst 300 to a gain on Wednesday’s session. The Eurofirst was 1.1 percent higher to 1,341.18.

Banks weren’t the only gainers, however. Novo Nordisk, which is the world’s largest producer of insulin, gained 7.6 percent to DKr391.50 on a report that its operating profits were up by 17 percent in the first half of the year. In the electronics sector, Phillips added 4.1 percent to €26.20 ahead of an expected announcement that Silver Lake Partners and Kohlberg Kravits Roberts have prevailed in the bidding to purchase the company’s semiconductor unit.

Automobile manufacturer, BMW added 0.4 percent to €39,92. Shares in BMW had gone as high as 4 percent higher earlier in the day on the strength of its quarterly report, but it lost almost all of that gain when it was announced that the family that holds almost half of the carmaker’s stock will sell around 1.5 percent of that stake.

Among banks, Bank of Ireland added 2.2 percent to €14.26, while Anglo Irish Bank was up by 2.7 percent to €11.70. Allied Irish Bank gained 3.8 percent to €19.94 on an upgrade from “sell” to “neutral” from Goldman Sachs. In addition, Lehman Brothers raised its target share price on Allied from €20.18 to €21.75 and Deutsche Bank advanced its target share price from €21.50 to €22.

BNP Paribas ended the session at €78.20, 4.2 percent higher, after its second quarter report showed net profits up by 30.6 percent. Profits were helped by its acquisition of the Italian bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Bucking the trend, Credit Suisse was down by 3.4 percent to SFr66.60 when its earnings report for the second quarter was at predictions but no better.

Among notable losers on the session was Mittal Steel, which fell by 2 percent to €26.50. The decline came on news that net profits for the recently acquired Arcelor were below expectations and even though Mittal‘s own report beat predictions.

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