Markets & Finance

European Movers Renault, Linde, KPN


Plus more European stocks making headlines in Friday's market

UK

CARPHONE WAREHOUSE was up £0.09 to £3.41... Shares jump on bid talk - Stock rallies on market specualtion that the company may be a takeover target for Vodafone.

XSTRATA was down £0.53 to £35.22... Resource Pacific rejects bid The board of the Australian group recommended shareholders reject the company 's AUD2.85 per share bid, calling it neither fair nor reasonable. Resource pacif says an independent expert report valued Resource Pacific shares in the range AUD3.56 to AUD4.09, with a preferred value of AUD3.82 per share.

ADMIRAL was down £0.32 to £10.68... Merrill removes from most preferred list Merrill Lynch removes the stock from its insurance most preferred list. Replaces the company with MUNICH RE and STOREBRAND.

France

RENAULT was down €7.09 to €86.45... Nissan plunged 9.2% in Tokyo - Nissan Motor fell the most in more than six years on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, plunging 9.2% at the close after Toyota Motor cut its forecast for US sales and JPY rose against the US$. the company 's 2007 vehicle sales rose 2.2% to 2.487 million vehicles. December vehicle sales rose 13.4% to 207,272 vehicles.

FRANCE TELECOM was up €0.08 to €24.30... Sold 70,000 iPhones since November - Les Echos - The newspaper adds the company expects to sell a further 50,000 to 100,000 iPhones this year.

SOC GEN was down €1.04 to €96.70... UBS upgrades to buy / Citi cautious - UBS upgrades to buy from neutral and raises target to €130 from €114. Notes that the company is 40% off its high, compared with a 24% sell-off in the sector. The company says recent price performance suggests the market is once again concerned about the sustainability of earnings. Adds this is nothing new, and also occurred in 1998 and 2002, when the company sold off c.50% - periods that proved to be the best time to invest in the company Believes this time is no different and that problems relating to US subprime will not permanently impair core CIB or group profits. Citigroup removes the company from its buy focus list and downgrades French and Investment banks to underweight.

Germany

LINDE was up €3.98 to €94.88... Renewed talk of Dow Chemical interested - Stock reaches YTD high on technical breakout, reckons trader.

VW was down €2.65 to €149.16... US December sales disappoint - Due to the A4 model change, sales of VW cars and light trucks were down 8.8% year-over-year in December. Brand car sales rose 3% to 20,543 units last month.

Italy

GENERALI was down €0.12 to €30.42... Possible management changes in focus - Opponents of the company 's chairman Antoine Bernheim are seeking to move him to an honourary chairman post and have banker Claudio Costamagna become the company 's operating chairman instead, Reuters reports citing the Italian press.

Netherlands

KPN was up €0.34 to €12.67... Telefonica deal would make sense - sources - Shares of the company are upbeat on rumours that Telefonica could be interested in making a bid, according to market sources, who add that the rumour has been circulating for a few months now. One source says strategically such a move would make sense for Telefonica as the company 's business would complement that of Telefonica, especially in Germany. Adds, however, that Telefonica recently said it would limit growth in countries where it already has a presence. As a result the company 's Dutch and Belgian business would not fit.

Nordics

YARA was up NOK14.00 to NOK264.00... Merrill Lynch upgrades to buy vs neutral and raises its EPS estimate for 2008-09 by 30% and 40%, respectively. The broker's DCF is NOK305. Points out, the scale of price increase for CAN (calcium ammonium nitrate), the company 's most significant fertiliser product, was very significant in fourth quarter07 and should outweigh headwinds from gas prices in 2008. Notes, industry sources indicate that CAN could rise to US$350/tonne in the near-term from the current level of US$310/tonne.

CARLSBERG was down DKK19.00 to DKK585.00... Increased bid possible due to exchange rates - Since the takeover bid for Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) was launched on 15 November, the DKK/£ exchange rate has declined c.4%, one Nordic broker points out,. The broker says this means that the GPB7.50/share bid can, from the company 's point of view, be raised to £7.81 without becoming more expensive, adding it believes this increases the possibility of a third proposal. Meanwhile, the cost for the company to raise its bid, which it plans to do through a rights issue, is increasing as the company 's share price has dropped c.7% since the beginning of December. Furthermore, S&N has reportedly said it may divest Hartwall in defensive move.

NORSKE SKOG was down NOK2.55 to NOK41.80... The company reiterates 2008 newsprint capacity reduction - the company says it maintains its 2008 plan to reduce European newsprint capacity by c.300,000-400,000 and that it will consider an IPO of its Asian units. the company guides for 2008 capex of c.NOK1.6 billion and sees potential property divestments for the year of c.NOK0.5-1.0 billion. the company also says its committed to reduce debt and is looking for consolidation in China.

Spain

ACERINOX was down €0.30 to €16.25... Koplowitz raises stake to 13.27% - Alicia Koplowitz has increased her stake in the company to 13.27% from 11.11%, according to stock market records.

Switzerland

SYNGENTA was down CHF3.00 to CHF299.25... Merrill ups price objective to CHF330 from CHF310, reiterates buy. The broker has increased its EPS estiamtes due to two likely positives for Crop Protection in 2008. Firstly, in light of the fourth quarter07 rally in grain prices, now assumes a 6% increase in Selective Herbicides volumes for 2008. Secondly, sees a 15% increase in glyphosate (a generic nonselective herbicide) pricing in 2008.

PETROPLUS was down CHF0.55 to CHF83.60... Hydrogen leak had no effect on output - Yesterday, there was a hydrogen leak at the company 's Ingolstadt refinery in Germany. the company reportedly said it did not affect output.


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