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Italian Stocks: Azimut, Monte Paschi, STMicro, Telecom Italia

Updated on

Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB Index rose

174.96, or 0.8 percent, to 22,793.01 in Milan, extending a 2.7 percent increase last week.

The following stocks were among the most active in the Italian market today.

Assicurazioni Generali SpA (G IM) increased 1.8 percent to

16.79 euros, rising for a second day. Italy’s biggest insurer and the private equity fund TPG Capital LP may buy shares of VTB Group, Russia’s second-largest lender, according to a term sheet of its planned stock offering obtained by Bloomberg News.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has insurers among its top sector picks in Europe.

Azimut Holding SpA (AZM IM) rose for the first day in four, adding 2.1 percent to 7.97 euros. Deutsche Bank AG reiterated a “buy” rating on Italy’s largest independent fund manager notwithstanding January net outflows. “We still believe that our 2011 estimates are achievable,” the brokerage said in a note.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMPS IM) climbed 3.9 percent to 95 euro cents, the highest in two weeks. Societe Generale SA, which has a “hold” rating on Italy’s third-largest bank, said net interest income is expected to show “single-digit growth in 2011” and “loan-loss provisions should decline from 80 basis points in 2010 to a range between 75/70 basis points.” It cited a meeting with investors.

Banco Popolare SC (BP IM) advanced 4.1 percent to 2.75 euros. Option rights tied to the bank’s 2 billion-euro capital increase ended trading on Feb. 4.

Bulgari SpA (BUL IM) snapped a three-day loss, rising 1.9 percent to 7.67 euros. The world’s third-largest jeweler had its price estimate increased to 7.9 euros from 6.9 euros at Deutsche Bank AG. The brokerage, which kept a “hold” rating on Bulgari, lifted its earnings-per-share estimates for the European luxury-goods industry by an average of 7 percent today.

Gemina SpA (GEM IM) jumped 2.8 percent to 59 euro cents, paring a two-day decline. The Benetton family may raise its 30 percent stake in the manager of Rome’s airports operator, Il Sole 24 Ore reported Feb. 5, without saying where it got the information.

The Benetton’s are interested in buying Gemina shares from other investors who may want to sell, Il Sole said, without giving further details.

Lottomatica SpA (LTO IM) sank 3.3 percent to 10.47 euros. The manager of Italy’s Lotto game said it plans to distribute a dividend on 2010 earnings in the form of shares. The company was expected to pay a dividend of 78 cents a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mediobanca SpA (MB IM) advanced 3.1 percent to 8.01 euros, a fifth gain for the stock. Intermonte Sim SpA increased its price estimate on the investment bank to 9 euros from 8.5 euros, saying in a note that “we expect Mediobanca to be much better placed than retail banks to avoid disappointments in operating profitability and eventually to benefit from a resumption of M&A and initial public offerings in the second half of 2011.”

The brokerage reiterated an “outperform” rating.

Saras SpA (SRS IM) climbed 6.4 percent to 2.02 euros, rising for a third day. AlphaValue, which has a “buy” rating on the refiner, said in a note that “historically, the group distributed generous dividends, and we assume this will be so again post 2010.”

Sogefi SpA (SO IM) jumped 2.4 percent to 2.44 euros, the highest in more than three weeks. The car-parts maker was upgraded to “buy” at Equita Sim SpA, which cited “cheap multiples, good visibility and room for M&A deals” and added the stock to its “small caps portfolio.”

STMicroelectronics NV (STM IM) advanced for a second day, rising 2.8 percent to 9.22 euros. Europe’s largest chipmaker had its price estimate increased to $13 from $8.8 at Evolution Securities, which kept a “neutral” rating on the stock.

Telecom Italia SpA (TIT IM) fell 1.1 percent to 1.05 euros. Investec Securities initiated coverage of Italy’s biggest phone company with a “sell” rating and a price estimate of 92 euro cents.

“The increased stake in Telecom Argentina SA should boost revenue and EBITDA through consolidation, but risks to overall consensus remain with the high margin domestic operations critical to sustaining performance and the debt burden constraining essential spend for defending market share,” the brokerage said in a note.

Separately, la Repubblica reported that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may push to have Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Franco Bernabe ousted when the executive’s term ends in April.

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