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Reuters Rises on Broker Upgrade

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope


Liquor group Pernod Ricard was up €5.70 to €131.20 after its competitor Diageo agreed to end any talks with third parties planning to counterbid for British drinks group Allied Domecq. As part of the agreement, Diageo agreed acquire Pernod Ricard's Bushmills Irish whiskey brand and took an option to buy Allied Domecq's Montana wine business, the Financial Times reported. The company also trades ex-dividend today.

Soitec, which makes technology used in semiconductors, was down €0.37 to €8.68, as Apple's decision to favour Intel rather than IBM as its provider hit the company, whose main client is IBM. The bank ETC Pollak Prebon remained positive on the stock, keeping its add rating and €11.0 target price.

Tobacco maker Altadis was up €0.67 to €35.30 after the company's board has appointed Jean Dominique Comolli as chairman and Antonio Vazquez, as president of the executive committee and chief executive of the group, as part of the board restructure.

Air France-KLM was up €0.29 to €13.15 after the company announced it is negotiating with Aeroports de Paris the construction of new freight landing facilities in Paris' Roissy airport and a freight station in Orly airport.

France Telecom was up €0.38 to €22.79, as Reuters reported that the French government sold a 6.2% stake yesterday for an average of €3.4 billion. However, sources said the placement did not have the success expected. The Finance Ministry said the government now holds a 34.9% stake. Separately, the newspaper Les Echos reported that the company has acquired complete control of its subsidiary Orange in Dominican Republic.

Resort operator Club Med was up €0.47 to €39.68, after Citigroup increased its target price to €35 from €27, and retained its sell rating. The bank reduced its fiscal-year 2005 earnings before interest and taxes forecasts €46 million from €54 million and its 2006 forecasts to €83 million from €86 million. The broker believes that the turnaround potential is fully reflected in the current share price, with the shares trading on premium multiples to its leisure peers.


Reuters news and information group was up £0.10 to £4.03, after the financial services group Cazenove upgraded the company to outperform from in line, and kept its target price of £5.00.

Standard Chartered bank was up £0.27 to £10.36 after Merrill Lynch upgraded the company to buy from neutral and kept its £12.15 target. The broker now believes the group is out-performing its domestic peers in Hong Kong and has upgraded earnings for the company from the region significantly.

Liquor group Diageo was up £0.23 to £8.11 after the company agreed to end any talks with third parties planning to counterbid for British drinks group Allied Domecq when it struck a deal with the French group bidding for Allied Domecq, Pernod Ricard. Under the agreement, Diageo will acquire Pernod Ricard's Bushmills Irish whiskey brand and take an option to buy Allied Domecq's Montana wine business, the Financial Times reports.

Ryanair discount airline was down £0.12 to £6.52 after the company confirmed that chief executive Michael O'Leary sold 6 million shares this morning at €6.5 per share. Earlier, the bank ABN Amro downgraded the company to reduce from add, and raised its target price to €6.30 from €6.20.The bank said that results and guidance for next year exceeded forecasts, but the good news looks priced in. Meanwhile, the brokerage Cheuvreux initiated coverage with an outperform rating and €7.90 target.

Easyjet was up £0.06 to £2.32 after the company reported a 21.9% rise in May passenger traffic, with its load factor coming in at 84.1%. Based on current trading outlook, the company said that total revenue per seat for the year to September 2005 is likely to be unchanged compared to the same period last year.

Buyout firm 3i was up £0.09 to £6.97 after the Financial Times reported that the company will sell its 21.6% stake in Cannon Avent, the provider of baby care products and car mats, as part of the overall sale of the business to Charterhouse Development Capital in an agreement valued at about £300 million. The company's stake is thought to be worth approximately £64 million.


The conglomerate Siemens was up €1.49 to €62.70 after the press reported that the company is to pay Taiwanese mobile phone maker BenQ to take over its mobile phone unit. The company confirmed that the deal is to go through by the fourth quarter of 2005. The bank Merck Finck said that, although there are short term burdens, it thinks that the long-term impact on earnings is positive.

Hypovereinsbank was up €0.35 to €20.00, after the Austrian press reported that Italian bank UniCredito plans to make an offer to buy out minority shareholders of Bank Austria. Main shareholders at UniCredito have confirmed they will back its merger deal with Hypovereinsbank, the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore writes. Yesterday, the Italian press reported the bank and UniCredito were close to a merger agreement which could be reached by the end of the week.

BMW was up €0.47 to €36.85, after the carmaker's May sales rose 7.5%. Brand sales rose 6.4% to 96,061. Mini brand sales rose 12% to 88,459. The group's sales for the first five months of the year rose 8.4% to 517,184.

Volkswagen was up €0.39 to €36.63, after the company's Skoda unit will spend $49.3 million and create 370 new jobs over the next four years. The company plans €2 billion in material & labor costs in the next year. Separately the company plans to start producing small cars in India by next year, said the newspaper Handelsblatt.

Utility RWE was up €1.88 to €52.43 after UBS increased its price target to €58 from €52.8.

Utlity E.ON was up €1.51 to €72.35, after the company announced it is buying a stake in a Norwegian gas field for €75 million from Paladin Resources, raising its stake in Norway to 30%. Also, UBS raised its price target on the company to €81 from €77.

Drugmaker Altana was down €0.46 to €47.04 after the company rejected rumors of a possible three-year delay to the company's Daxas/roflumilast are rejected by the company. Last week, Goldman Sachs reduced its revenue expectations for Daxas/roflumilast, saying it believes EU uptake will be slow, that positioning of the product will require additional post-approval studies and that use will likely be in a second-line. In addition, the broker believes that there is the potential for significant regulatory.

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