Markets & Finance

On the Move: Pernod Ricard, Tesco, Continental


Plus:Syngenta, Fiat, Nokia and other European companies making headlines Tuesday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

TESCO was down £0.02 to £4.18. The company said that it has delivered strong growth and record sales over the Christmas and New Year period. It added that sales, ex-petrol, increased by 9.9% in the six weeks to Jan. 6 2007 and including petrol, sales increased by 9.5%.

VODAFONE (VOD) was down £0.00 to £1.49. According to the WSJ, the company is considering an alternative plan to gain control of Essar by buying a large stake in its parent company Hutchison Telecommunication International.

BP (BP) was unchanged at £5.49. A report by James Baker, the former US secretary of state, is expected to blame the leadership of the company for safety failings at its US refining operations.

France

PERNOD RICARD was up €3.83 to €147.00. Belevedere plans two acquisitions to expand into the spirits industry, Le Figaro reported, citing CEO Jacques Rouvroy. Belvedere is preparing the first of the purchases in the coming months.

STM (STM) was up €0.31 to €14.96. Intel (INTC) may enter a joint venture with the company and a private investor that will reorganize its flash memory division, the Jerusalem Post reported. The private investor is expected to invest US$3 billion in the business, in which all three partners will hold an equal stake, the newspaper said.

SOITEC was down €3.18 to €24.32. The company warned that fiscal 2006 sales would not meet targets. It expects fiscal 2006 revenue of €375 million, (about 6% lower than prior guidance). Credit Suisse cut its target to €28.9 from €30.0.

Germany

CONTINENTAL was up €0.21 to €91.46. The company reiterated 2006 targets for about €15 billion in sales and higher EBIT. AXA has cut its stake in the company to below 10%. It now holds 9.52% of the company's shares, but remains the largest shareholder.

MOBILCOM was down €0.25 to €23.50. Kepler said the focus on operational business should allow a regaining of momentum to be reflected in higher earnings growth. It thinks that together with a re-gearing of the balance sheet, this should be the basis for future share price performance. The broker maintained its buy rating.

DAIMLERCHRYSLER (DCX) was down €0.18 to €46.86. The company sees the trucks market as sharply weaker in the NAFTA and Japan regions this year, but recovering next year, reportedly.

Nordics

NOKIA (NOK) was up €0.25 to €15.35. Goldman upgraded the company to buy as Lehman cut its target price.

STOREBRAND was up NOK3.30 to NOK87.80. UBS initiated coverage with a buy rating and set its target price at NOK98. It said that the company has a 30% market share in a profitable Norwegian pensions market.

Netherlands

PHILIPS (PHG) was down €0.07 to €28.92. LG.Philips LCD reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly net loss of US$185.9 million. Sales on a consolidated basis came at KRW 3.07tr, against KRW 2.96tr a year earlier. While seasonal demand growth for flat televisions and more stable pricing has helped the company trim losses compared with the previous quarter, analysts expect LCD panel prices to fall another 15-20 percent in the first half.

Switzerland

SGS was down CHF21.00 to CHF1375.00. UBS downgraded the company to neutral from buy on insufficient upside to the CHF1,470 price target. Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, upped its target to CHF1,280 from CHF1,220, maintaining its neutral rating.

SYNGENTA was down CHF3.70 to CHF235.30. UBS downgraded the company to neutral from buy following strong out performance over 3 years driven by upgrades, shareholder-friendly releveraging and the recent surge in the corn price.

Italy

FIAT (FIA) was up €0.14 to €15.19. The company's truck unit Iveco has said that 2006 revenues came in at €9 billion. Iveco's CEO Paolo Monferino also said that the unit's trading profit margin was up 6%, in line with targets.

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