Markets & Finance

Unilever Gains on Report of Stock Plan


From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

France

Alcatel was up €0.05 to €10.64 on Monday. JP Morgan is modestly revising up FY05 EPS forecasts by €0.01 to €0.81, and 2006 by €0.02 to €0.88 to reflect the increase to the global handset market.

Havas fell €0.10 to €4.06on a report that its subsidiary MPG has lost a contract to acquire spaces for Peugeot. The online paper lefigaro.fr notes the bad news follows the loss of another important portfolio, Volkswagen.

Technip gained €1.00 to €49.54. UBS upgraded the shares to buy from neutral and increases target price to €56 from €50.

Lafarge rose €0.80 to €73.50 after Deutsche upgrades to buy from hold and increases target to €82 from €75. The broker says the company is finally turning the corner, adding a major deal could now actually be beneficial. It points out Lafarge has spectacularly underperformed other European building materials outfits.

Euronext gained €0.28 to €34.22 after a Wall Street Journal report that shareholders are urging the company to consider a merger with Deutsche Boerse.

Germany

Thyssen Krupp fell €0.10 to €16.34 after a report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has confirmed plans to team up with EADS to buy Atlas Elektronik, a German maker of electronics systems for submarines.

E.ON was lower by €2.13 to €77.40. Dresdner KW notes that federal elections came out with the worst possible result for the German equity market: a hung parliament. But reckons investors should buy into weakness as it reiterates its buy rating on E.ON stock.

Allianz was down €1.33 to €105.67 on news that it will reorganize its insurance businesses, grouping sales divisions into a separate unit to be headed by Gerhard Rupprecht. Also reportedly preparing to meet with unions to discuss further concepts.

Siemens gained €0.12 to €64.02. Its restructuring in focus as the company says it will cut more than €1.5 billion in costs in its SBS unit, phasing out 2,400 jobs over the next two years, and dissolve its L&A logistics unit, integrating successful parts into other units. The restructuring measures will burden this year's and next fiscal year's earnings.

Deutsche Post shares fell €0.50 to €19.48 after the company announced its £3.7 billion purchase of Exel.

Netherlands

Unilever NV added €1.25 to €59.85. The company plans to sell eurobonds for as much as €750 million. Separately, the company is to scrap its dual stock market listing as part of a wide-ranging structural review, The Sunday Times reported over the weekend. The newspaper said chairman Antony Burgmans has asked investment bank NM Rothschild and UBS to undertake a review of the group.

ASML rose €0.16 to €14.19. JP Morgan rates the shares overweight ahead of Tuesday's Annual Analyst day tomorrow. JP Morgan expects the company to give an update on order flows, discuss longer-term growth opportunities, market share progression, and potential further cost and lead time reduction. The company remains on the broker's European/U.S. Analyst Focus List with a multiples-based price target of €16/US$22.

Nordic

Norsk Hydro was up 4.00 Norwegian kroner to NOK733.00 on the news that it will buy Spinnaker Exploration for US$2.45 billion or US$65.5/share. Says that the purchase will have a substantial impact on Co.'s international oil and gas production, which after the deal will have a total annual growth of 40% in 2005-2008.

Switzerland

Nestle rose 4.00 Swiss francs to 371.75 francs. The shares may be undervalued compared to its peers as the world's largest food company stands to gain from increasing demand for products such as bottled water, pet food and ice cream, Barron's reports. The weekly suggests that the stock could be undervalued, trading at 12.7 times, vs. U.S. peers at 16 times earnings.

Roche was up 2.20 Swiss francs to 184.70 francs. According to the FT, the U.S. government is in talks with the company to buy record amounts of its Tamiflu medication to avert a potential bird-flu pandemic. Roche would not disclose the amount or value of the contract, though it may be worth more than US$1 billion , according to calculations made by the newspaper. Separately, the company's osteoporosis treatment Bonviva has been approved for use in Europe in post-menopausal women.

UK

Glaxosmithkline added £0.21 to £13.83. Pharma stocks were higher Monday on a stronger U.S. dollar as investors buy the greenback given political gridlock in Germany, Europe's largest economy. Separately, the EU has approved a monthly version of the company's and Roche's osteoporosis drug Bonviva. U.S. and Swiss regulators had approved the drug earlier this year.

Burren Energy gained £0.45 to £7.92. The company reports first half turnover was up 166% to US$168.1 million, with basic EPS up 564% to US$0.599. It says average production was up by 95% to 29,100 barrels per day on working interest basis and by 90% to 22,200 bpd on an entitlement basis.


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