Plus more European stocks making headlines Tuesday
LLOYDS TSB (LLOY.L) was down £0.15 to £5.33... US prosecutors file civil money laundering charges - US prosecutors said on Monday they filed civil money laundering charges against the company and the Bank of Cyprus, alleging theyhelped launder hundreds of millions of dollars generated from an alleged securities fraud, Reuters reports from New York. The government is seeking civil penalties of at least US$130 million from Lloyds TSB Bank, a unit of the company , and at least US$162 million from Bank of Cyprus, the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan said, the news agency writes.
VODAFONE (VOD) was down £0.03 to £1.74... Competition probe/India's 3G spectrum auction - Spain's National Competition Commission has opened an investigation into possible collusion between Telefonica's Movistar, the company and France Telecom's Orange. The watchdog will examine whether the three mobile firms co-ordinated a price increase in March 2007. India is considering auctioning 3G spectrum for mobile phone operators and may allow all players, including foreign companies and new applicants, to bid, a senior government official said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.
BG PLC (BG.L) was up £0.16 to £9.11... Deal with Shell or Petrobras doable - the company is in focus on renewed talk that Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom could bid at between £9.50/sh and £10.50/sh. Petrobras is also being talked about as the bidder. Also, there is speculation of stakebuilding in the company , with a possible announcement tomorrow. A trader says, 'Petrobras is a better fit, but Shell is also a possibility. Both need Brazil resources of the company Petrobras is already working in Brazil and needs the internationalisation of LNG from the company ' Note that last week there was talk that Petrobras and Royal Dutch Shell were in talks to jointly buy the company Also WTI is trading at a record US$87.47 a barrel.
ALCATEL-LUCENT (ALU) was down €0.31 to €6.59... WestLB downgrades to reduce from hold and cuts target to €6.3 from EUR 6.8. The broker thinks that the Ericsson sales and profit warning is bad news for the company as the group will face even more severe topline and margin issues in its mobile business. Thinks the fact that Ericsson's margin in the fast growing Multimedia division is also not progressing indicates that the company will continue to face a difficult transition period for its Convergence division.
ARCELOR-MITTAL (MT) was down €1.23 to €53.92... Posco cuts fiscal targets - South Korean steel firm Posco issues below-consensus third quarter numbers and cuts its fiscal op profit forecast to KRW4.5tn from KRW4.6tn.
SOITEC (SOITxa.PA) was up €0.36 to €13.70... posted first half07/08 sales of EUR 152 million - the company reported consolidated second quarter07/08 sales of EUR 83.5 million, -6.8%. first half07/08 consolidated sales came in at EUR 152 million, -13.3%. The company says this is the result of the low activity recorded in first quarter combined with the impact of the weak US$ that moved unfavorably against the €by 7.2% in the first six months compared to last year. Remains cautious for second half07/08 until the success of new products recently launched by major customers is better quantified. However the company is confident that the outlook is improving and anticipates sequential improvement in business at constant exchange based on higher sales volumes across all activities for second half07/08.
SIEMENS (SI) was down €2.40 to €92.92... Fear of profit warning weighs (broker comment) - One trader says today's pressure is still residual from Philips' warning in medical technologies yesterday. What's more, Ericsson issued a profit warning this morning, which weighs on sector peers. Dresdner says worries concerning a fourth quarter profit warning appear overdone. The broker continues to believe the company offers the greatest self-help potential in 2008. Keeps buy.
MTU was down €1.94 to €42.50... Key board member leaves (press) - The FTD reports that Swiss group SR Technics has poached Bernd Kessler.
LEONI AG (LEOGn.DE) was down €1.23 to €44.15... Buys Valeo's wiring harness business for an enterprise value of €255 million.
SAIPEM (SPMI.MI) was up €0.32 to €31.23... Cheuvreux raises target to €36 from €31; reiterates selected list rating. Has more bullish stance on the outlook in 2008-2010 based on: superior organic growth of the oil services industry; contribution of new vessels in drilling and offshore construction; and gradual increase of margins on the back of more favorable conditions embedded in the order backlog.
FIAT (FIA.MI) was up €0.06 to €22.51... Fiat car sales outpace Euro avg in Sept - Total passenger car registrations in Europe (EU27+EFTA) were up 0.7% year-over-year in nine months07, but slowed by 1.5% year-over-year in September, reaching 1,420,043 units. ACEA, the automobile association, says this result has been influenced by one working day less than in the previous year in the whole region. the company outperformed the market showing overall growth of 3.4% in Sepetmber (the Fiat brand was up 4.7%).
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (NL) (RDSa) Up €0.37 to €29.90... Oil hovers near new record high - with WTI now trading at US$87.47 a barrel - as tension between Turkey and Iraq and concerns about winter supplies remain key factors in the market.
CORPORATE EXPRESS (CXP.AS) was down €0.22 to €7.78... UBS trims target to EUR 9.00 from €10.70 and keeps neutral. Lowers EPS estimates by c.8% to factor in the pending divestments of the ASAP business (for US$340 million to Dell, implying 0.34x sales and 8.9x EBITDA), as well as for the divestment of Veenman Germany (with revenues of EUR 36 million).
ERICSSON (ERIC) was down SEK6.28 to SEK20.10... CEO rumoured to leave following profit warning - Market talk and local press suggest the company 's CEO Carl-Henric Svanberg may have to resign following the company 's profit warning. the company now expects third quarter sales of SEK43.5 billion vs consensus at SEK45.4 billion, with an operating income of SEK5.6 billion vs consensus at SEK9.1 billion, gross margin at 35.6% vs consensus at 42.8% and cash flow of SEK-1.6 billion. the company says this is primarily a result of 'an unexpected shift in the business mix', meaning a shortfall in sales in mobile network upgrades and expansions resulted in an unfavorable business mix that also negatively affected group margins. the company also puts out a bearish guidance for fourth quarter07 and 2008. WestLB downgrades to reduce vs buy.
TELEFONICA (TEF) was up €0.61 to €22.12... Price probe / Broker action / Alierta - Cesar Alierta has doubled his stake in the company to 0.08%, according to CNMV records. Bear Stearns raises target to €24.60 vs EUR 21.30, outperform. the company is broker's preferred large-cap telco, given its valuation discount, strong growth profile and 2008 yield of 4.6%. HSBC ups target to €26.90 vs €22.50, overweight. Thinks guidance is achievable and upgrades forecasts on an attractive combination of growth, yield and value. Spain's National Competition Commission has opened an investigation into possible collusion between the company 's Movistar, Vodafone and France Telecom's Orange. The watchdog will examine whether the three mobile firms co-ordinated a price increase in March 2007.
ROCHE (RO.DE) was down CHF6.20 to CHF210.50... nine months sales shy of forecasts - coming in at CHF33.9 billion, up 12% year-over-year. the company reaffirms its full-year outlook.