Plus:Novartis, Statoil, Ahold and other European companies making headlines Monday
From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope
PRUDENTIAL (PUK) was down £0.04 to £6.99. The company posted total fiscal year group insurance new business (APE) of £2.470 billion, +16%; UK retail £689 million, +14%; total UK £900 million, +1%; US insurance Jackson £613 million, +21%.
AIR LIQUIDE was up €3.40 to €180.40. ING upped its target to €170 from €152 and kept its hold rating. It noted that fourth quarter 2006 sales of €2.8 billion were below the consensus of €2.925 billion and fourth quarter 2005 sales of €2.827 billion.
SAINT GOBAIN was up €0.50 to €73.15. JP Morgan raised its target to €85 from €70, reiterating its overweight rating. It sees the potential for 16% upside in share value on management's margin plan.
DEUTSCHE TELEKOM (DT) was down €0.57 to €13.60. The company warned on profit (broker comments) after cautioning on earnings only six months ago. The company has cut up to €1.2 billion from its 2007 forecasts. The reduction in EBITDA comprised €0.8 billion from German wireline, €0.2 billion from German wireless and €0.2 billion from the action of the US$/ exchange rate on the contribution from T-Mobile USA.
INFINEON (IFX) was up €0.10 to €11.19. The company posted first quarter EBIT of €216 million (broker comment) with quarterly sales at €2.13 billion. Net profit for the quarter was €120 million.
HOCHTIEF was up €2.26 to €62.83. The German financial press cited the possibility of US construction firms wanting to buy a stake in the company should Australia's Macquarie Bank succeed in taking it over. Meanwhile, the company reportedly said it is unaware of any takeover attempt.
AHOLD was up €0.06 to €7.76. Industry sources said that the company's Albert Heijn reportedly grew sales by more than 10% in the last quarter of 2006. The company's trading update is due on Thursday.
SLIGRO FOOD was up €0.55 to €52.55. SNS Securities upgraded the company to hold from reduce and sets a price target of €54.
ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (RDS) was down €0.10 to €26.19. The company and Repsol (REP) have signed a deal with Iran worth US$10 billion to assess the feasibility of producing liquefied natural gas from the South Pars field, The Guardian reported.
STATOIL was up NOK0.25 to NOK166.00. The company and Hydro have completed a value verification process following the agreement between the companies' boards of directors to merge Hydro's oil & gas activities with the company. The company's net interest-bearing debt was estimated to be NOK 14.3 billion at Dec. 31 2006.
NOVARTIS (NVS) was up CHF0.40 to CHF72.35 as Merrill Lynch added the company to its Europe 1 list. In the broker's view, the company's sector-average 2008 P/E rating (14.3x) undervalues the company's premium EPS growth rate, attractive Phase III pipeline and low off-patent exposure.
FIAT (FIA) was up €0.46 to €16.66. JP Morgan raised its target to €20.00 from €17.00, and rates the stock overweight.
IBERIA was up €0.10 to €3.10. UBS upgraded the company to buy from neutral and raised its target to €3.50 from €2.80. Lufthansa's CEO has reportedly told the FT Deutschland that he expects European airline consolidation to accelerate if talks to liberalize the market between the US and Europe fail.
INDITEX was up €1.10 to €42.10. UBS upgraded the company to buy from neutral and raised its target to €47.50 from €42.