Insurance, oil help Eurofirst higher

| August 14, 2006 | 0 Comments

In Europe on Monday, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 added 0.9 percent to 1,343.55 as oil prices declined and a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah went into effect. Also helping the advance was good performance in the insurance sector.

Despite falling prices, the oil sector saw gains after BP said that it could keep half of its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska in production despite the necessity to replace corroded pipelines. Total was 0.7 percent higher to €53.05, while OMV added 1.1 percent to €45.40.

Airlines were mixed after the security level in Britain was lowered and some restrictions on carry-on luggage were lifted after last week’s terrorist warnings and arrests. Air France-KLM was up by 1.8 percent to €19.60, while Lufthansa gained 2 percent to €14.52. On the other hand, Ryanair dropped 1.2 percent to €7.150 on its complaints that BAA was not doing enough to get delayed flights off the ground.

The insurance sector as a whole was helped by a Citigroup upgrade from “neutral” to “positive”. Both Citigroup and Deutsche Bank named Allianz, Axa, and Zurich Financial as their favorites in the sector. On the comments, Allianz was 1.2 percent higher to €130.09, while Zurich Financial gained 1.5 percent to SFr282.00 and Axa advanced by 1.6 percent to €28.55. Reinsurers Munich Re and Swiss Re were also helped by the comments, adding 1.4 percent to €115.65 and 2 percent to SFr93.00 respectively.

An upgraded by Deutsche Bank from “hold” to “buy” helped steel maker ThyssenKrupp 2 percent higher to €26.61.

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