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October 18, 2006

Eurofirst in new gains

Permalink: Eurofirst in new gains by Elaine Frei

Filed under: Investments, Economy, News

After seeing losses on Tuesday, the FTSE Eurofirst 100 added 0.9 percent on Wednesday to 1,441.48 on several bits of positive news.

Automobile manufacturer Fiat was 5.7 percent higher to €13.53 on rumors that it wants to sell its truck making division. It didn’t hurt that JPMorgan issued positive comments, saying that Fiat stands to double operating profits in the third quarter.

French jet engine manufacturer Safran also gained 5.7 percent, to €16.87, on rumors that there is a merger in the works between it and defense electronics company Thales. Thales added 1.7 percent to €36.58 on the speculation.

The forestry and paper sector saw gains when M-Real of Finland announced a major restructuring, saying that it will cut costs and cut capacity. It also announced the appointment of a new chief executive. M-Real added 14.9 on the news to €4.78. Among others in the sector, UPM Kymmene was 3.8 percent higher to €19.50, while Stora Enso advanced 5.3 percent to €12.61.

ASML, which makes semiconductor manufacturing equipment, dropped 6.6 percent to €17.75 as not all analysts were enthusiastic about its third-quarter report. ABN Amro dropped its recommendation from “hold” to “sell”, while Dresdner Kleinwort reaffirmed its “sell” recommendation. Both cited slowing orders as the cause for their disappointment. Deutsche Bank, however, reiterated its “buy” rating on ASML.

Dutch pharmaceuticals group Akzo Nobel also saw declines, falling 8.9 percent to €43.35 after it said it would delay the release of asenapine, it’s new anti-schizophrenia drug and released third-quarter results that were not up to analyst predictions.

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