Germany's Merck Rises on Lifted Targets
Steelmaker Arcelor was up €0.46 to €16.46 after its Anglo-Dutch rival Corus said it expects the first half of 2005 to be marginally better than the strong second half of 2004. However, it anticipates more difficult trading conditions in the second half of 2005. Separately, steel stocks rose on Wall Street yesterday with U.S. Steel gaining over 6% due to data showing increased Chinese demand.
Cigarette maker Altadis was down €0.57 to €35.05, after a group of Democratic lawmakers yesterday urged the U.S. Justice Department to drop talks aimed at settling its racketeering case against cigarette makers, fearing any sanctions would be too weak. Separately, Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded the tobacco sector to neutral, saying its concerns are largely on valuation. The broker noted that over the last six months the European tobacco sector has seen the worst deterioration in margins of any sector that it follows.
Aerospace and defense giant EADS, the parent of Airbus, was up €0.17 to €23.47after Airbus' commercial director John Leahy said that an Indian carrier is planning to place a $6 billion order for some 100 A320 aircrafts this afternoon. Meanwhile, the company is in talks with three Chinese airlines over A380 planes expected to be delivered for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Advertising group Havas was up €0.12 to €4.90 after major stakeholder Vincent Bollore increased his stake in the company to 22.01%, bringing his voting rights to 22.40%.
Drugmaker Merck was up €3.39 to €66.80 after saying that its Erbitux drug prolongs patients lives when given in combination with chemotherapy, a study shows. Also, the company raised its mid-term return on sales target to 20% and its return on capital employed target to 25%. Previous targets were 15%.
Hypovereinsbank was up €0.54 to €22.11 after the bank BNP-Paribas said market speculation that it may be interested in the German bank are only rumors. A BNP-Paribas spokesman offered no further comment.
Deutsche Boerse was up €1.01 to €62.26 after Fidelity Investments said its stake in the exchange exceeds 5%, according to the German newspaper BZ. The company has four shareholders whose stakes amount to more than 5%.
Software group SAP was up €1.75 to €136.92 after the company hired at least seven managers from rivals Oracle, Peoplesoft, Siebel & BEA Systems, as competition grows in the sector.
Carmaker Volkswagen was up €0.37 to €37.26 after the company was fined $1.10 million in the U.S. for failing to promptly report and fix an emissions defect in 326,000 vehicles.
Shell Transport was up £0.10 to £5.07 after Goldman Sachs upgraded the company to in-line from underperform. The broker said that, with share prices currently close to fair value for Royal Dutch Petroleum and the company, the likely technical support into the July 20 index re-weighting should limit downside over the next few weeks.
BHP Billiton was up £0.26 to £7.13 after ABN Amro upgraded the company to buy from add, and raised its target price to £8.45 from £8.33. Separately, China's industrial output in May showed strong growth of 16.6% from a year earlier, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics. In the first 5 months of 2005, industrial output rose 16.3%.
Antofagasta Holding was up £0.44 to £12.26 as copper stays on track to beat April's record high of US$3,336 per metric tonne.
Irish drugmaker Elan was down £0.08 to £5.73 after the Financial Times reported that the company is developing a vaccine for Parkinson disease that shows it works well on mice. The report said that the drug could also help Alzheimer's disease potentially
Hilton hotel and betting group was up £0.04 to £2.84 after the bank UBS increased its target price to £3.40 from £3.30, and reiterated a buy rating.
British American Tobacco was down £0.29 to £10, after a group of Democratic lawmakers yesterday urged the U.S. Justice Department to drop talks aimed at settling its racketeering case against cigarette makers, fearing any sanctions would be too weak. Separately, Credit Suisse First Boston downgraded the tobacco sector to neutral, saying its concerns are largely on valuation. The broker noted that over the last six months the European tobacco sector has seen the worst deterioration in margins of any sector that it follows