Markets & Finance

On the Move: Credit Agricole, TNT, Bayer


From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

France

CREDIT AGRICOLE was up €1.21 to €27.02. Deutsche Bank published a bullish note ahead of the company's investor day on December 15, when the company should unveil strategic as well as financial targets for the years to come. The broker believes investor day might be a catalyst for investors to start revising earnings and said the company could set an EPS target as high as €3.50 for fiscal 2007, 20% above consensus.

BNP-PARIBAS was up €0.85 to €68.20. The company plans to open about 100 new branches in the Middle East and North Africa over the next two years, the head of operations in the Gulf Arab states said. The company already runs 400 branches in the area, offering asset management, investment banking and trade finance services.

TOTAL (TOT) was down €1.10 to €218.60. WTI futures were just off the US$60 mark they touched yesterday following falling temperatures in the northern US, boosting demand for heating oil. As US temperatures are expected to remain low, investors will be eyeing tomorrow's report on inventories, where a draw is expected.

LVMH was up €1.55 to €75.50. Citigroup initiated coverage with a buy rating and €84 price target. The broker highlighted that ROCE has been rising for four years despite highly adverse currency trends and said this reflects turnarounds in smaller divisions and a tighter control of capital allocation.

Italy

CAMPARI was up €0.26 to €5.97. The company announced the appointment - as of January 1 2006 - of exclusive distribution rights for Midori Melon Liqueur, ZEN Green Tea Liqueur, Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky and Akadama Plum Wine from Suntory International (a subsidiary of Suntory Ltd based in Osaka). It said Midori, a premium melon liqueur, will accounts for about 90% of the volume.

VALENTINO was down €0.02 to €20.98. The company 's AGM approved the new board and confirmed Antonio Favrin as chairman, Finanza & Mercati reported. As for a merger between the company and its controlled Hugo Boss, Favrin disclosed that he does not consider it as a short-term issue, although he does not dismiss the idea, the newspaper said. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank has purchased a 3.84% share of the company 's capital.

Nordics

ERICSSON was up SEK1.00 to SEK27.80. The company announced its largest managed services partnership contract to date, the largest ever signed in the industry. The company and mobile media company 3 enter into an exclusive seven-year partnership. Ericsson will be responsible for the management of the 3 network and its IT infrastructure in the UK.

Germany

BAYER (BAY) was down €0.13 to €34.57. The company made a provision of € 275 million in the fourth quarter for civil antitrust actions pending against it in the US, and said the cartel case may demand further charges. Kepler noted that the amount reflects just about 8% of this year's forecast clean operating profit and said the market should see the announcement as positive in the regard that the rubber case has partially been solved. However, it pointed out that it's not over for the company. The broker rated the stock reduce.

DEUTSCHE BANK (DB) was up €0.72 to €84.62. The company is taking full control of United Financial Group, a Russian investment bank in which it already has a 40% stake. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Kepler noted that UFG is one of Russia's leading investment banks with a strong presence in advisory, equities, fixed income and derivatives and said it will strengthen DB's position in the Russian capital markets business, but will give no access to retail in that large and promising market.

DEUTSCHE BOERSE was up €1.34 to €86.75. The company is looking for a partner for the unprofitable US arm of its Eurex derivative exchange.

United Kingdom

HBOS was up £0.39 to £9.07. The company said it expects fiscal 2005 performance to exceed market expectations for underlying EPS of 84.4p. It said at this point in the economic cycle, its strategy of targeting high single digit growth in lending is delivering stable margins.

NEXT was up £0.38 to £14.93. CSFB raised its estimates due to cold weather. The broker said the clothing retailer's discipline of selling at full price until January clearance has finally been rewarded by a cold snap in the UK, which the firm believes has stimulated better sales of outerwear.

BP (BP) was up £0.01 to £6.60. The company is taking a 20% stake in China Aviation Oil as part of a US$44 million rescue of the Singapore-based company which imports jet fuel into China. The European Commission is poised to shift some of the burden of reducing vehicle greenhouse gas emissions from carmakers to oil companies after the car industry warned the required clean engine technology would make vehicles unaffordable, the FT reported.

P&O was up £0.15 to £4.87. Temasek, the Singaporean state investment company, refused Monday to rule out a bid for the company, the FT wrote.

Netherlands

TNT was up €1.49 to €24.99. The company announced that it is to sell its logistic business. Meanwhile, the company is in the process of acquiring China's Hoau Logistics. The transaction is expected to be finalized in second half of 2006. The company also announces a share buyback program of €1 billion shares, starting today, via cash and loans. It raised revenue growth expectations for Express to 10%-15% over the medium term vs. 'high single-digit' previously expected, thanks to the acquisition of Spanish distribution company TG+. Petercam upgraded the company to buy from add and said it will raise its target to around €30 from €24.40. Prepared by Zaida Espana, Valerie Vidal, Michael Sanderson, Mariella Mongio, Alexander Wisch, Holly Cook, Emma Stevenson, Pawan Girglani, Julien Manrique, and Rocio Opazo-Aniotz (Standard & Poor's); Alex Halperin (BusinessWeek Online)


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