Markets & Finance

European Indexes End Higher


Major European indexes ended Friday's session in positive territory. Oil prices continued to soften after U.S. data showed a build in inventories last week. Wall Street traded higher following

CPI data that quelled inflation fears, although gains were capped by a disappointing University of Michigan sentiment report.

Germany's Xetra-Dax index gained 0.51% Friday. Cautious optimism from Samsung supported European telecom equipment and semiconductor stocks. Infineon (+1.62%), meanwhile, will proceed with the closure of its Munich plant after union talks failed. Workers are reportedly prepared to go on strike over the closure. Fresenius (-3.96%) is acquiring German private hospital chain Helios Kliniken for €1.50 billion, plus €100 million for the net cash position. MAN (-0.46%), along with buyout firms including KKR, is among the interested bidders for DaimlerChrysler's (DCX) (-0.4%) MTU Friedrichshafen diesel engine-making business, FTD reports. Deutsche Post (-1.15%) is, according to CEO Zumwinkel in the local press, likely to take a break from acquisitions after completing the Exel deal.

Siemens (+1.23%) refuted a report that it plans to take over Canada's Nortel Networks, as suggested by Die Welt, to strengthen its communications business. Germany's telecoms and postal regulator has launched an investigation into a new cut-rate tariff offered by Deutsche Telekom (DT) (+1.39%) for phone calls made over its ISDN digital network. Premiere (+4.0%) added 96,373 subscribers in the third quarter and reiterated its 3.6 million target by yearend. On the broker front, Goldman Sachs upgraded RWE (+0.06%) to outperform from in-line.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 index rose 0.19%. Hilton Group (+13.37%) rallied after confirming it has been discussing the sale of Hilton International to its U.S. counterpart Hilton Corp. The consortium led by the Tchenguiz Family says it has agreed on a £1.97 bid price with Somerfield's board. Shares in the supermarket group rose 3.21%. Man Group (+2.12%) gained after Merrill Lynch added the stock to its Europe 1 List.

Mining stocks remained mixed, despite a sector and estimates upgrade by Morgan Stanley. The broker said it now expects iron prices to increase by 20% next year vs a previous estimate of +5%, with prices remaining high. Engineering group Keller (+8.94%) soared after saying it expects fiscal year results to beat market expectations. Finally, WPP (-0.54%) confirmed that it is in talks with a private equity partner with a view to making an offer for Aegis (-3.99%).

France's CAC40 index ended higher by 0.27%. While Paris generally welcomed the decline in crude, investors in Total (TOT) (-2.85%) did not. The oil major knocked 19 points off the CAC40. Also, employees at its Normandy refinery, the largest in the country, voted to continue their strike.

But the broader market benefited from the good guidance from Samsung and good corporate newsflow. Samsung forecast its first profit increase in five quarters, citing a rebound in prices for LCD displays and mobile phones. This aided STM (STM) (+2.41%) and Alcatel (ALA) (+0.66%). The main gainer among blue chips was Thomson (TMS) (+2.96%), thanks to a bullish third quarter report, despite warning that fiscal year growth from comparable businesses will fall short of its target. Sanofi (SNY) (+1.40%) left investors in good spirits after winning backing from a panel of experts for EU approval for Exubera.

Elsewhere, Spain's IBEX 35 index gained 0.59%, while Italy's MIB 30 market benchmark rose 0.43%.


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