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Thursday 18th of June 2009
October 5, 2006

Eurofirst hits 5-year high


by Elaine Frei

Mergers and acquisitions news continued to drive the European equities markets on Thursday as the FTSE Eurofirst 300 saw its highest closing level since mid-2001 and indices in Spain and Switzerland hit all-time highs. The Eurofirst added 0.6 percent to 1,410.11.

MAN was down again, dropping 3.6 percent to €66 as the fallout of Volkswagen’s purchase of 15 percent of the German truckmaker’s shares Wednesday continued. Analyst opinion is that VW made the purchase to protect its own truck unit and its investment in Scania, in which it is the largest shareholder. MAN made a bid for Scania last month. Scania’s B shares added 0.8 percent on the session to SKr465.50, while VW gained 1.2 percent to €69.65.

Low-cost air carrier Ryanair dropped 0.8 percent to €8.63 after it said it has purchased 16 percent of Aer Lingus and intends to bid for the remaining shares in the Irish airline. With Aer Lingus saying that they reject the bid and analysts saying that there is not much chance of the bid effort succeeding Aer Lingus, which only began trading publicly on Monday, added 15.5 percent to €2.90.

The steel sector saw advances on the day after Tata Steel of India said it was considering a bid for Corus. This follows Mittal Steel’s acquisition of Arcelor earlier in the year. Corus added 15.8 percent to €7.03 on the talk, and other steel makers gained on the possibility of further consolidation within the sector. Arcelor Mittal gained 3 percent to €27.70, while Salzgitter advanced 3.2 percent to €77.82 and ThyssenKrupp was 3.6 percent higher to €27.18.

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