Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk helped European stock markets end the week at 15-month highs, but the feisty euro and accounting woes at giant food group Parmalat kept market gains limited. \nHeavily weighted energy stocks Royal Dutch/Shell and BP rose, spurred by Brent crude oil prices near nine-month highs, while a note from ABN AMRO telling clients that Cable & Wireless looked cheap buoyed the British telecoms stock. \nBut Rhodia slumped 8.8 percent to a lifetime low amid talk its bondholders in the US may ask the loss-making French chemicals firm, currently in the midst of restructuring its 2.1 billion-euro (US$2.6 billion) debt, for an early repayment. \nThe FTSE Eurotop 300 index of pan-European blue chips ended the Friday session 0.3 percent higher at 947 points and the narrower DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index added 0.4 percent to 2,725 points, their best close since Sept. 11 last year. \nThe benchmark Eurotop ended the week 1 percent higher than it started, bringing to 10.5 percent its total gains since the start of the year. \nSentiment remained supportive for equities after this week's raft of economic data showed recovery was on track on both sides of the Atlantic, although worries that the strong euro could compromise a pickup in earnings capped investors' enthusiasm. \n"This week's economic data backs scenarios of economic recovery in the United States, but also in Europe where some forecasts are revised on the upside," said strategist Jean-Francois Himber at broker ETC Pollak Prebon in Paris. \nHimber and other strategists said these fundamentals should set the stage for fresh equity gains when trading resumes in the new year, provided the euro did not rise much beyond its current level. \nVolkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, said on Friday it had raised its hedging level to protect it from the euro's strength against the dollar, as unfavorable exchange rates eat into earnings from exports to the US. \nBy 5pm, the euro was at US$1.2380, off Thursday's lifetime peak of US$1.2440 but still some 18 percent above the level at which it started the year. \nWorries over how the US would finance its gaping current account deficit continued to erode confidence in the dollar. \nBut market watchers said faster economic growth in the euro zone could for now help to counteract the impact of the strong euro on European companies' revenues. \nThe dollar's moderate rebound on Friday -- which traders attributed to profit-taking on the euro and said did not call into question the bearish trend for the greenback -- helped exporters such as Thomson, which closed 3 percent higher. \nAround Europe, London and Frankfurt closed higher while Paris and Zurich ended flat. \nIn New York, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 percent but the technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite Index was down 0.5 percent amid volatile trade, as investors rushed to adjust their positions during "quadruple-witching," when four different types of options and futures contracts expire. \nShares in Italy's biggest food group, Parmalat, dived 66 percent on the Milan bourse after it announced a 4-billion-euro hole in its finances. \n"It is difficult to see how Parmalat can keep going after this clear indication of extensive financial irregularity," said ABN AMRO credit analyst Claire McGuckin in a note to clients. \nThe shares fell to 0.30 euro on Friday from 2.24 euros last week, deflating its market capitalization to some 245 million euros from about 1.8 billion euros as its financial crisis snowballed. \nThings looked rosier for heavily indebted Dutch food group Numico, which said it had secured a new bank loan of 850 million euros to help it restore its finances. Analysts said the company was fast rehabilitating itself. \nNumico shares ended 2.5 percent higher. \nOther gainers included Novo Nordisk after first results from a Phase II study of its drug Novo Seven showed its was effective on trauma patients, sending its shares 7.5 percent higher.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
BAD RAP: The exchange said Tatung had seriously breached shareholders’ rights and failed to give a satisfactory explanation of its board election dispute Tatung Co (大同) shares yesterday plunged by the maximum daily limit of 10 percent to NT$18.90, the lowest in three months, after the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) on Tuesday evening changed the company’s classification to a full-delivery stock effective tomorrow. The TWSE’s move follows the company’s failure to give a clear and satisfactory explanation of why it deprived dozens of shareholders of their voting rights during a board election at the annual shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday morning. Under the exchange’s regulations, investors are not allowed to engage in margin trading of a full-delivery stock, TWSE spokeswoman Rebecca Chen (陳麗卿) told
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate