Plus: Roche, STMicro, BMW and other European companies making headlines Wednesday
From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope
BHP BILLITON (BHP) was up £0.40 to £10.26. The company is reporting a 41% jump in first half net profit to US$6.17 billion, a touch below expectations. The company has set an extra US$10 billion in share buybacks.
STANDARD LIFE was up £0.05 to £3.10. The company posted 2006 worldwide insurance APE sales of £1.734 billion, +39%; UK Life and Pensions APE sales of £1.442 billion.
STM (STM) was up €0.25 to €14.66. Shares edged higher after a local broker upgraded the company to buy and raised its target by 14% to €16.5.
PUBLICIS was up €1.36 to €34.52. The company posted 4.8% rise in fourth quarter revenue to €1.251 billion and talked of 2007 looking promising. Credit Suisse upgraded the company to outperform from neutral, upping its target to €37 from €31.
ALSTOM was up €0.90 to €96.65. HSBC raised its target to €74 from €63 basing its target on fundamentals alone.
INFINEON (IFX) was up €0.89 to €11.69. The company has won a deal to supply Nokia (NOK) with its single-chip solution for low-end mobile phones.
PORSCHE was down €14.39 to €972.60. The European Commission has agreed upon a comprehensive strategy for the European car industry, to keep the manufacturing of cars viable on a long-term basis, at prices affordable to consumers, it said. More to the point, it proposes a strategy to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars as a way to combat global warming.
BMW was down €0.89 to €45.66. Allianz placed 16.1 million BMW shares to the tune of €755 million, by Merrill Lynch, at a price of €45.55-46.55 apiece.
STMICRO (STM) was up €0.26 to €14.66. Shares edged higher after a local broker upgraded the company to buy and raised its target by 14% to €16.5.
FINMECCANICA was up €0.42 to €22.32. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage with an overweight rating and target of €26.50. It believes the market has overlooked that the company is in the sweet spot of three key end-markets (commercial aero-structures, defense electronics and helicopters), which should
drive above-average 7-8% annual revenue gains, opportunities for margin expansion as well as reduced reliance on Italian defense spending.
ALFA LAVAL was up SEK30.00 to SEK357.00. Fourth quarter adjusted EBIT came in at SEK1.02 billion vs. a forecast of SEK848 million and sales came in at SEK6.04 billion vs. a forecast of SEK5.51 billion.
IBERDROLA was up €1.60 to €35.60. Shares gained on rumors of a bid from EDF. The company's shares added to Tuesday's gains amid talk that French group EDF could launch a bid.
UNION FENOSA was up €2.25 to €42.25. The CNE will meet on Thursday to discuss the possibility of eliminating the restrictions on ACS' shareholding in the company La Gaceta said the market is taking it as read that ACS will sell its 40% stake in the company, with Enel seen as a likely buyer.
ROCHE was down CHF6.20 to CHF232.30. The company reported 2006 sales up 17% in local currencies to CHF42 billion. Net profit rose 34% to CHF9.17 billion, a touch above expectations, driven by significantly higher net financial income.
STRAUMANN was up CHF30.75 to CHF343.75. For 2006, the company's net revenue climbed 16% in local currencies to CHF599 million, while net profit moved up 10.7% to CHF141.9 million - ahead of expectations.