Plus:UBS, Philips, PSA and other European companies making headlines Wednesday
From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope
CSR was down £0.23 to £6.36. A research foundation backed by the state of Washington has sued three of the world's biggest consumer electronics makers over claims that they have infringed a series of patents surrounding the Bluetooth short-range wireless technology, the FT wrote. The suit, filed in Federal court in Seattle, claims that Matsushita, Samsung and Nokia should have sought a license before using the technology in cell phones, headsets and other electronic equipment, the daily said.
BAT (BTI) was up £0.16 to £14.75. The legal minimum age to purchase tobacco will be raised to 18 years from 16 years old on Oct. 1., the UK Department of Health said on its website.
ARCELOR-MITTAL was down €0.86 to €31.99. Press reports have it that US steelmaker Nucor plans to acquire Canada-based and family-controlled Harris Steel in a deal valued at US$1.07 billion. Separately, Credit Suisse downgraded the steel sector to underweight from market weight in its sector outlook report.
PSA was up €0.85 to €52.15. Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the company to outperform from underperform. It said that despite a decent performance of the 207 (8,600 units), the Peugeot brand could not outperform the market in December due to weak sales of the 307 (-32%). At Citroen, the C4 Picasso (2,300 units) and a 7% rise in C3 sales are behind the Citroen's above-average performance in December.
GRENKE LEASING was up €3.36 to €39.25. New business growth was stronger than expected. The company surprised on the positive side as it reported solid new business growth (+9.8% to €460 million in 2006). Consequently, Merck Finck lifted its target on the company's stock to €42 from €37, reiterating its buy rating.
THYSSEN KRUPP was down €0.78 to €35.91 as Credit Suisse downgraded the steel sector to underweight from market weight.
BOLIDEN was down SEK4.50 to SEK172.00. In order to secure parts of the payments regarding the investment in Aitik, the company has extended its hedging of metal prices by about two years up to 2010.
HUSQVARNA was up SEK3.25 to SEK110.00. Investor, holder of an 11.1% stake in the company, rejected an approach for the company by a private equity group, Dagens Nyheter reported.
PHILIPS (PHG) was up €0.03 to €28.66. The company announced that the closing of the sale of its Philips Sound Solutions (PSS) unit to Japanese D&M Holdings will lead to a one-time earnings gain of €41.7 million for fourth quarter 2006.
ABN AMRO (ABN) was up €0.09 to €24.90. The company said its Antonveneta unit has sold part of its non-performing loan portfolio to GE Commercial Finance Services Italy and Pirelli RE.
NOVARTIS was up CHF0.95 to CHF71.20. The company's Lek unit has reportedly sued Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Watson Pharmaceuticals, seeking royalties on the cholesterol medicine Pravachol.
UBS (UBS) was up CHF1.60 to CHF75.65. The company says it has been subpoenaed over whether its Boston 'hedge fund hotel' charges fees that may create conflicts of interest and harm investors.
SEAT was up €0.01 to €0.48. Shares rally as Il Sole 24 Ore speculated that the company's controlling stake (50.14% owned by four private equity funds) could be sold soon.
LOTTOMATICA was up €0.25 to €31.97. Cheuvreux notes that the final figures for the Italian gaming market reveal very healthy trends, particularly for instant lotteries, which are more than offsetting the decline of the Lotto game for the company.
ENDESA was down €0.23 to €35.34. Acciona plans to increase its stake in the company to 24.9% in the next few days, reported Expansion.