Investors await US tax and spending deal

Sat, Dec 15, 2012, 00:00

European markets remained quiet yesterday as investors watched US lawmakers continue their search for an agreement that will avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts next year.

The Stoxx 600, which tracks leading shares in 18 western European markets, slid slightly, losing less than 0.1 per cent to reach 279.4. This was its first fall this month.

According to news agency Bloomberg the index has gained 19 per cent from its overall low this year on June 4th.

DUBLIN

C&C’s recent popularity with investors continued. The cider maker, which recently acquired the biggest player in the sector in the US, gained 2.62 per cent to close at €4.315, as close to two million of its shares changed hands.

Packaging group, Smurfit Kappa shed 1.55 per cent to close at €9.40. Another industrial, index heavyweight, CRH, dipped 0.31 per cent to €14.415.

Airline Ryanair, added 0.52 per cent to close at €4.825.

LONDON

Centamin, which plunged 47 per cent on Thursday after a fuel dispute halted production at its gold mine in Egypt, surged 25 per cent to 34.64p. The company said Chevron, its fuel supplier, had been notified by Egyptian General Petroleum that fuel supply may be resumed.

LSE advanced 4.2 per cent to 1,052 pence, the highest price since September 25th, as the Office of Fair Trading cleared its proposed purchase of a majority holding in LCH Clearnet.

The operator of Europe’s oldest independent stock exchange agreed to buy a stake in the region’s biggest clearing house for €463 million in March.

Bunzl, which provides supply services for grocery and health-care companies, advanced 0.6 per cent to 1,065p, while Volex, which makes power cords for iPhones, slumped 37 per cent to 89p.

Weir Group slid 1.6 per cent to 1,807p after analysts predicted see slower growth in its mining business next year.

EUROPE

Alcatel-Lucent rallied 7 per cent to 91.3 cent after saying it will get a $2.1 billion multi-year financing commitment from Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.

Akzo Nobel advanced 7.1 per cent to €48.70, the biggest jump since September 2011, after PPG Industries agreed to buy its US decorative-paints business for $1.05 billion.

Fresenius rose 1.2 per cent to €89. The company said it is in talks with several parties to sell its biotechnology unit.

Daimler climbed 2.5 per cent to €40.67. BMW advanced 1.3 per cent to €71.73. A measure of auto companies was the best performer of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600.

HeidelbergCement AG, the world’s third-largest maker of the building materials, rose 1.8 per cent to €43.92. Citigroup reiterated its buy recommendation on the shares, saying it sees increased earnings visibility in the industry.

Network management software group PSI rose 3.4 per cent to €15.67 after chief executive Harald Schrimpf predicted a “very strong” first quarter.

Hugo Boss, the luxury clothing maker controlled by Permira Advisers, climbed 3.4 per cent to €81.68 after getting a buy rating from analysts at Hauck Aufhaeuser.

Deutsche Bank fell 2.1 per cent to €32.65. Co-chief executive Juergen Fitschen said police raids on the company’s headquarters this week were overdone and hinder efforts to change its corporate culture.

US

Best Buy slumped 15 per cent to $11.99. Schulze can now make a proposal to buy the company between February 1st and 28th, it said in a statement.

Schlumberger dropped 5.5 per cent to $68.57. The world’s largest oilfield-services provider said it expects earnings per share to fall because of delays and slowing activity in its two largest regional units

Apple sank 3.8 per cent to $509.60. UBS cut its price estimate to $700 from $780. – (Bloomberg)