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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
January 22, 2007

Eurofirst declines by 0.4 percent


by Elaine Frei

In Europe on Monday, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 dropped 0.4 percent on the session to close at 1,525.97 after being unable to hold on to gains earlier in the day.

In the automobile manufacturing sector, DaimlerChrysler was 0.6 percent lower to €48.51 despite an upgrade of its target share price from €50 to €55 from JP Morgan. The broker’s move was prompted by the belief that the carmaker could announce a plan to return Chrysler to profit when it announces results next month.

In the electronics sector, Philips Electronics fell 1.7 percent to €28.88 on mixed results in the fourth quarter. According to the report, net profits were higher than had been anticipated on lower tax rates and one-time gains. Sales, however, did not meet expectations. Philips also raised its dividend for 2006.

Gains in oil prices led to losses in a couple of sectors. Lufthansa dropped 3.2 percent in the airlines sector. Meanwhile, in the chemicals sector, agrochemicals manufacturer Syngenta was down 2.8 percent to SFr233, while Rhodia fell 3.5 percent to €2.80.

Among producers of luxury goods, Swatch added 2 percent to SFr287.50 on the announcement that its sales were up by 12.3 percent in 2006. Broker comments were positive, with Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse reiterating recommendations of “overweight” and “outperform” respectively. Credit Suisse said its target share price on the watchmaker, currently SFr300, was under review, while Lehman Brothers upped its target share price for the company from SFr270 to SFr315.

In the banking sector, Raiffeisen International added 3.7 percent to €113.64 on raised target share prices from Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley as optimism continued in relation to the bank’s business interests in Russia and in eastern Europe. Merrill Lynch upped Raiffeisen’s targets share price to €140, while Morgan Stanley set raised its target for the bank to €83.80, citing the possibility that investors might be putting too much emphasis on its Russian exposure.

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