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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
January 4, 2007

European airlines gain on news, broker comments


by Elaine Frei

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was 0.3 percent lower on Thursday, closing at 1,499.03 on declines in the oil and steel sectors. The decline came even though the telecommunications and airlines sectors were up on the session.

Among telecoms, fixed-line carriers added 1.7 percent. France Telecom added 1.4 percent to €21.68, while KPN gained 3.2 percent to €11.26 and Hellenic Telecom was 3.5 percent higher to €24. Meanwhile, mobile carrier Cosmote added 3.3 percent to €22.98.

Airlines were helped by declines in crude oil prices as investors hoped that fuel prices would also go down. Air France-KLM added 1.2 percent to €33.12. Lufthansa was helped when Dresdner Kleinwort raised its target share price from €21.60 to €26 and repeated its “buy” recommendation on the air carrier. The positive comments came after Lufthansa sold its 50 percent stake in Thomas Cook, the travel agency. Lufthansa was 2.1 percent higher to €21.96. Ryanair gained 3.6 percent to €10.80 after it said that while its aircraft were slightly less full on average last year, it carried 19 percent more passengers.

In the oil sector, Total dropped 2 percent to €53.45, while Neste Oil fell 3 percent to €22.04 and Statoil was 3.7 percent lower to NKr157.25.

Steelmakers continued to suffer from a sector downgrade issued by Credit Suisse on Wednesday. Mittal Steel dropped 2.8 percent to €30.65, ThyssenKrupp was 3.4 percent lower to €34.73, and Vallourec fell 4.7 percent to €208.40.

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