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Plus: Ahold, EADS, International Power, and other European stocks making headlines Friday
PRUDENTIAL (PUK) was down £0.03 to £6.58. The company says expects life business in Asia at least to double 2005 new business profits by 2009.
WOLVERHAMPTON & DUDLEY was up £0.64 to £16.45. The company posted fiscal year underlying pretax profit of £101.5 million, +13.2%; pretax profit £101.5 million; underlying EPS 95.1p, +14.0%; basic EPS 95.1p; total DPS 42.75p, +10.0%; Pathfinder Pubs like-for-like sales +2.4%; +3.7% in second half. says has seen strong trading since year end with like-for-like sales up 9.1% in Pathfinder Pubs. Adds that trading in the new financial year has been strong, benefiting from good weather.
INTERNATIONAL POWER was up £0.10 to £3.49. Morgan Stanley lifts target to £4.10 from £3.50, retains overweight. MS says investors still appear to underestimate the potential growth prospects at the company says if the company reinvests 75% of its surplus cashflows successfully and it has plenty of targets both for greenfield development and acquisition - then the company could enhance base case EPS estimates by over 30%, and increase FV to £4.55. Adds that if reinvestment prospects do not emerge, which is unlikely, then the company will return surplus cash to shareholders, which would be equally EPS accretive.
LUFTHANSA was up €0.69 to €19.49. Morgan Stanley lifts target to €25 from €18.20, reiterating overweight. Thinks the market is missing a significant positive impact from a restructured Swiss. Believes it could be worth €2 billion or €4.10 per share. says spin-offs of US LSG, Fraport and Munich airport stakes and IT opportunities could realise €1.5 billion. Reckons earnings will be supported by solid yields in 2007. In the press: according to Les Echos, Iberia would not reject an alliance with either Air France-KLM (AKH) or the company.
THYSSEN KRUPP was down €0.39 to €28.75. The company reports 2005/06 pretax profit of EUR 2.62 billion versus €1.68 billion last time, in line with expectations. says it is confident that 2006/07 pretax profit will exceed €2.5 billion. Previously, the company talked of a roughly flat result. Kepler says, all in all, fourth quarter was a good quarter with a clean EBT of some €850 million. However, points out that automotive was a further disappointment with the lowest operating results for quite some time. Also, the elevator division shows a continued loss of momentum, particularly in its order intake. The broker keeps its reduce rating on the company's stock.
EDF was up €3.55 to €51.95. France's Constitutional Court ruled that regulated power prices would be incompatible with EU objectives for competitive power markets starting July 2007.
EADS was up €0.99 to €23.20. The company 's shareholders have reached an agreement on a €10 billion financing package for the A350, reports the FT. says the deal paves the way for the company 's board to approve the launch of the aircraft at a meeting today. €6 billion will be financed by the company internally and €4 billion by state guarantees from France, UK, Germany and Spain.
RENAULT was down €2.15 to €88.35... Renault French car sales slump 26% in Nov. - weighing down on the French market as a whole, which saw total French car and light-truck sales down 4.9% year-over-year in Nov. to 197,756 vehicles. Peugeot cars bucked the trend, experiencing a 5% gain in Nov. the company 's shares were already lower earlier in the session as Nissan's Japan sales were down 14.5% in November, a 17th straight monthly decline, the longest slide since 1999. Nissan is 44%-owned by the company
DANONE (DA) was down €2.90 to €113.30. A placement of 800,000 company shares was carried out by Credit Suisse. Shares were sold at €116.0. Earlier, CIC Securities raised target to €134.5 from €125.5, reiterated buy. says the company 's fundamentals are very solid, while the speculative aspect - although not dominating - still continues. Notes the market may have been slightly disappointed by the operating margin guidance in the mid-term. Still, broker says it appreciates the company 's focus in revenue growth.
AHOLD (AHO) was down €0.24 to €7.32. The company reports third quarter pretax profit of €237 million, (excl €896 million class action settlement), operating income of €273 million, up 7.5%, but below consensus expectations of €€324 million. S&S/Giant operating margin down from 5.3% to 4.4%. Albert Heijn operating margin increases to 6.7%; USF to 1.9%. Total quarterly net sales come in at €10.3 billion, up 0.7% year-over-year. Insinger notes that margins at the operating level came under further pressure, most notably in the US.
VESTAS WIND was up DKK7.50 to DKK224.75. Citigroup ups target price to DKK230 from DKK160, maintains hold recommendation. Argues a light third quarter report, combined with 06 guidance tightened at the lower end of expectations, was overshadowed by refined 07 and 08 targets. says the change to the 08 margin target to 10-12% from at least 10% provided increased confidence in its achievability.
SWEDISH MATCH was down SEK3.25 to SEK118.00. Credit Suisse initiated coverage with with underperform. CS notes the tobacco sector's current valuation reflects a secular decline in global litigation risk and the industry's ability to produce faster and more predictable growth than the broader market despite increasing regulation. Argues the sector valuation looks fair as it now implies terminal growth more in tune with economic reality.
ENDESA (ELE) was down €0.08 to €35.00. Private equity firm Blackstone is considering taking a 10% stake in the company to help Acciona fend off E.On's takeover bid, reports Cinco Dias. Adds the deal should be carried out by the end of this month. The paper also notes sources in the sector have indicated that E.On could have offered Endesa assets to Acciona in exchange for the construction firm accepting the bid.