Markets & Finance

On the Move: VW, Carrefour, HBOS


Plus: Philips, Enel, Telefonica and other European companies making headlines Wednesday

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

HBOS was down £0.51 to £10.82. Dresdner lifted its target to £13.10 from £13.00 and kept its buy rating. The company unveiled fiscal year underlying pretax profit of £5.537 billion, +14%; underlying EPS 100.5p, +16%; final DPS 27.9p, +15%.

MICHAEL PAGE was down £0.15 to £4.81. The company posted fiscal year turnover of £649.1 million, +24%; operating profit of £97.4 million, +46%; pretax profit £97.0 million, +47%.

France

CARREFOUR was up €2.00 to €50.48. Shares rallied 2.95% as chairman Luc Vandevelde considered an LBO of the French grocery and general merchandise retailer with some private equity funds, according to the breakingviews.com website, citing people familiar with the situation.

BOUYGUES was down €0.08 to €52.70. Better-than-expected net profit came in 50% higher year-over-year at €1.246 billion. The company reported an 8% rise in 2006 operating profit to €1.877 billion.

ALTRAN was down €0.46 to €6.38. Deutsche Bank cut its target to €6.50 from €7.00 and kept its hold rating. It noted that the company indicated that fiscal 2006 EBIT margin would be around 5% - a disappointment relative to its original 6.2% expectation.

Germany

VW was up €3.01 to €95.63. Audi upped its sales target for 2015 to 1.5 million vehicles from 1.4 million previously. In the news, Brussels workers accepted longer hours without extra pay to save their jobs.

MUNICH RE was down €4.07 to €120.60. The company reported 2006 net profit of €3.54 billion, up 28% year-over-year and in line with expectations. The company proposed a dividend payment of €4.50 per share, up from the €3.10 paid in 2005.

E.ON (EON) was down €4.00 to €99.25. Italy's Enel has bought a 9.99% stake in Endesa at €39 per share, potentially scuppering the company's bid for the Spanish utility.

Nordics

TELIASONERA was unchanged at SEK59.00. Market rumors suggest that Turkish mobile operator Turkcell, where the company holds a 37% stake, could seek a license in Saudi Arabia.

Spain

TELEFONICA (TEF) was down €0.38 to €16.30. Hispanidad.com wrote that at the recent Italo-Spanish summit in Ibiza, it was decided that Enel would gain control of Endesa while the company would take Telecom Italia (TI).

ENDESA was up €0.33 to €38.45 as Italy's Enel acquired a 9.99% stake at €39 per share.

Italy

AUTOSTRADE was up €0.76 to €22.79. The company's shares traded higher as hopes of a merger with Abertis are revived. Spain's ElConfidencial.com reported that the recent Italo-Spanish summit in Ibiza agreed that Enel would be allowed to enter Endesa, in exchange for Italy clearing the way for the long-delayed merger of the company with Abertis.

ENEL was down €0.22 to €7.89. Cheuvreux downgraded the company to underperform from outperform and cut its target to €8.4 from €9.00.

Netherlands

PHILIPS (PHG) was down €0.78 to €27.772. LG.Philips LCD's head said that it would be a 'good option' if a client would take a stake in the flat screen maker. His remarks came after recent rumors that Japan's Matsushita Electric, a client of LG., would be top candidate to buy shares in the company. Also, the US FDA has warned the company regarding problems with its portable devices that shock patients and restore a normal heart beat.

Claudia Perotti, Lydia Carroll, Sara Oscarsson, Isabell Witt, Michael Sanderson, Gaurav Panchal, Julien Manrique, John West, Ben Marino, Emma Stevenson, Pawan Girglani.

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