From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope
DANONE (DA) was up €0.30 to €87.35. Deutsche Bank raised its target to €100 from € 85 and upgraded it to buy from hold saying that as operational and financial worries finally recede, the company deserves a larger p-e premium vs. the sector.
SANOFI-AVENTIS (SNY) was up €1.30 to €70.70. The company said it will deliver 62 million doses of flu vaccine to the U.S. this season, 10% more than previous forecasts. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical giant has announced its drug Taxotere will get a priority FDA review.
EUTELSAT was down €0.06 to €11.94. Shares fell 1.80% on their first day of trading, despite an IPO price near the bottom of the indicative range of €11.75-€12.75. The world's third satellite operator raised € 860 million by floating a third of its capital, valuing the group at €2.6 billion. Interest by retail investors was lower than expected, with only 2,770 million shares taken out of the 7,139 million earmarked for retail investors.
TOTAL (TOT) was up €1.30 to €219.00 as the price of crude oil rose on U.S. cold snap forecasts.
FIAT (FIA) was up €0.24 to €7.28. Italy's Transport Ministry confirmed that the company's market share rose above 30% in November, up 3.06% year-over-year, thanks to the launch of new models.
NOKIA (NOK) was up €0.05 to €14.75. The company maintained its operating margin target of 17%, at its CMD in New York. The cell phone giant cut its infrastructure operating margin target to 13% from 14% stated last year and expects to reduce overall R&D expenditures to 9%-10% of net sales by the end of 2006.
SWISS LIFE was up CHF11.80 to CHF231.50. JP Morgan upgraded the company to overweight from neutral and hiked its target price to CHF264 from CHF171. The broker highlighted three fundamental reasons to buy: Firstly, cost cutting programs in Swiss insurance; secondly, a clear strategy to slim Gottardo Bank, reduce costs, and focus on the core private banking business; thirdly, thanks to the 40bps rise in Swiss long bond yields from the end of September 2005 to 2.2% now, the negative spread margin of the core domestic life operation is all but eliminated. Cheuvreux upped its target to CHF250 from CHF235.
NUTRECO was up €1.15 to €36.00. UBS upgraded the stock to buy from neutral and raised its target to €45 from €35. The broker saw higher valuation of €1.2 billion for the Marine Harvest fish farming business, based on an expected higher profitability.
ING GROEP (ING) was up €0.43 to €28.59. The Mexican Court of Appeal has reversed a previous ruling by a lower local court in Mexico City against ING Comercial America, part of the company's operations in Mexico. The court has ruled that the company should pay the insurance claims based on the actual damages suffered by the insured and covered under the catastrophic insurance policy. The court found that Fertinal incurred covered damages of about US$94 million. The initial ruling would have required the company to pay the insurance policy limits of US$300 million.
DAIMLERCHRYSLER (DCX) was unchanged at €43.47. November sales of cars and light trucks in the U.S. fell 2.8% to 1.17 million, according to Autodata. European branded sales rose 0.7% year-over-year. Asian sales were 10% higher. Mercedes fell 2.9%. The company reportedly will cut production of its premium Mercedes C-Class model at its Sindelfingen plant in Germany because of weak demand.
DEUTSCHE BOERSE was up €2.69 to €86.19. Equities turnover was up 35% year-over-year in November to €114.1 billion. The company 's Eurex derivatives exchange saw a volume increase of 23% to €114 million contracts.
ALLIANCE & LEICESTER was up £0.24 to £9.24. The company said it is likely to beat the market consensus of £506 million for core operating profits in fiscal 2005. Total revenues were seen higher than in fiscal 2004.
VODAFONE (VOD) was down £0.03 to £1.23. CSFB cut the stock to neutral from outperform and lowered its target price to £1.35 from £1.60.
BHP BILLITON was up £0.25 to £9.04. The yellow metal jumped more than US$7.0 to US$506.30 an ounce in New York Thursday as investors sought alternative investments to equities, bonds, and currencies. Also supporting the upward momentum were rumors that Russian, Argentine and South African central banks are buying gold.
TESCO was unchanged at £3.08. Terry Leahy is to quit as CEO, City AM said. He is currently negotiating the contractual terms of his departure. A Bloomberg report said the company denies that Leahy will leave, as reported in City AM. Prepared by Zaida Espana, Valerie Vidal, Michael Sanderson, Mariella Mongio, Alexander Wisch, Holly Cook, Emma Stevenson, Pawan Girglani, Julien Manrique, and Rocio Opazo-Aniotz (Standard & Poor's); Alex Halperin (BusinessWeek Online)