French Stocks: Axa, Hermes, Ingenico, Peugeot, Rhodia, Sanofi

France’s benchmark CAC 40 Index rose 41.76, or 1.1 percent, to 3,909.11 at 12:55 p.m. in Paris.

The following shares rose or fell in the French equity market today.

Axa SA (CS FP) climbed 2 percent to 12.90 euros, the steepest intraday increase in a week. BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research added the insurer to its “Europe 1 List.”

Credit Agricole SA (ACA FP) dropped 1.2 percent to 9.97 euros, a fourth consecutive loss for the stock. France’s third- largest bank by market value plans to book a fourth-quarter writedown of about 1.25 billion euros ($1.6 billion) on its stake in Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and end its representation on the lender’s supervisory board.

GDF Suez SA (GSZ FP) rose 2.2 percent to 27.77 euros, reversing a 1.9 percent loss on Dec. 17, as utilities were the best performers in Europe today.

Hermes International SCA (RMS FP) ended a two-day gain, falling 1.3 percent to 155.35 euros. Hermes’s family shareholders will not bid to delist the luxury-goods company, Il Sole 24 Ore reported, citing an interview with Guillaume de Seynes, a descendant of the company’s founder Thierry Hermes.

The listing of Hermes was aimed at providing family shareholders with liquid shares and not to get funding they didn’t need, de Seynes told the newspaper. A delisting would be tempting although expensive, he said.

Ingenico SA (ING FP) sank 7.4 percent to 25.55 euros, the biggest loss since March last year. The world’s largest maker of card payment terminals said that a bidder for the company has not been in a position to submit a binding offer that is acceptable to its board.

Peugeot SA (UG FP) increased 1.6 percent to 30.24 euros, paring losses on Dec. 17. The carmaker expects to sell 200,000 vehicles in China next year, Timothy Zimmerman, director-general of Dongfeng Peugeot, said in an interview at the Guangzhou Auto Show.

Rhodia SA (RHA FP) surged 5.5 percent to 24 euros, the highest since January 2008. The specialty chemical company is confident it will be able to defend its profit margins in 2011 as raw-material prices, while at a high level, remain stable, Investir reported from an interview with Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Clamadieu. He reiterated that 2010 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization will be at 900 million euros, with sales close to 5 billion euros, Investir reported.

Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to “overweight” from “equal weight.”

Sanofi Aventis SA (SAN FP) gained 1.5 percent to 49.37 euros, ending a three-day loss. Sanofi and Avila Therapeutics Inc. have signed a global agreement to develop oncology drugs, the companies said.

Sequana SA (SEQ FP) rose 1.7 percent to 11.7 euros, paring losses on Dec. 17. The paper manufacturer will seek to improve its “performances” in 2011 by expanding its sales force and spreading the group’s best practices, CEO Pascal Lebard told Investir in an interview. Sequana is reiterating a target for improved results in 2010, Lebard was quoted as telling the weekly.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francesca Cinelli in Milan at fcinelli@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Merritt at dmerritt1@bloomberg.net.

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