Plus:Roche, Parmalat, Iberai and other European companies making headlines Wednesday
From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope
BARCLAYS (BCS) was up £0.12 to £7.14. HSBC lowered its target to £7.01 from £7.50 and kept its underweight rating. Prospective merger partners the company and ABN Amro are mulling a £10 billion cash sweetener to shareholders financed by the sale of the Dutch bank's US business LaSalle, The Times reported.
KESA ELECTRICALS was down £0.04 to £3.46. Bridgewell said pretax profit was a touch below best estimates but cash generation is impressive. It added that the debt reduction was much stronger than expected and looks to have been working capital driven.
HAMMERSON was up £0.63 to £17.18. The company was in focus as takeover rumors swept through the market, the FT wrote. The talk was of private equity interest possible from GE Real Estate, the paper added.
ALCATEL-LUCENT (ALU) was down €0.19 to €8.80. Cheuvreux downgraded the company to under perform from outperform and trimmed its target to €7.5 from €11.5.
TECHNIP was up €2.35 to €52.87. The company was understood to be close to winning a multibillion US$ contract in Nigeria. The company was not immediately available for comment.
METRO AG was down €2.15 to €53.96. The company reported fiscal 2006 EBIT of €1.91 billion. Net income was at €913 million. It expects yearly sales growth of 6% medium term and sees EBIT growing faster.
PA RESOURCES was up NOK2.90 to NOK51.00. The company has completed the export system at the Didon field in Tunisia and said it is now close to full production.
STOREBRAND was down NOK1.50 to NOK96.80. Kaupthing increased its holding in the company after gaining permission from regulators to up its stake to 20%.
INDITEX was down €1.46 to €44.08. The company delivered fiscal 2006 net sales +22% to €8.196 billion, gross profit +22% to €4.607 billion, gross margin of 56.2%.
IBERIA was up €0.12 to €3.70. The company said that currently there are no takeover or merger offers from third parties. The company reiterated that consolidation in the sector is likely.
PARMALAT was up €0.01 to €3.13. The company is expected to post its fiscal 2006 results later today. A leading Italian broker expects turnover at €3,977 billion, +3.2% year-over-year; EBITDA before one-offs at €393 million.
LUXOTTICA was up €0.66 to €23.99. Shares edged higher as the company holds a roadshow in London with a leading Italian broker.
ROCHE was up CHF2.20 to CHF218.00. The company said new data from the US and Japan support no established causal link between neuropsychiatric symptoms and treatment with Tamiflu.
BALOISE was down CHF2.20 to CHF126.00. The company reported better-than-expected fiscal net income of CHF707 million. It will propose an increase in the cash dividend of 73% to CHF3.80.
RICHEMONT was up CHF1.05 to CHF68.65. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said Swiss watch exports have never been so high at such an early stage in the year.