Sun, Mar 05, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Intel report sparks turbulent session in European trading

AP , LONDON

European stock markets ended mixed after a turbulent session on Friday as a profit warning from Intel Corp and concerns over global interest rates were offset by a rally from the UK's top two telecommunications companies, BT Group and Vodafone Group.

The German DAX 30 declined 1.1 percent at 5,721, the French CAC 40 eased 0.40 percent at 4,989 while the UK's FTSE 100 rose 0.44 percent at 5,858.

The German stock market in particular saw declines on rising rate fears in the US, Europe and Japan, with that market full of exporters such as Siemens AG, Bayer and DaimlerChrysler.

Chipmakers including STMicroelectronics and Philips Electronics closed lower after the profit warning from Intel, though Infineon Technologies ended in positive territory.

Also higher was Vodafone Group, which jumped 8.5 percent after saying late in the session it's in talks to sell its loss-making Japanese arm to Softbank. Vodafone has struggled to turn around the unit, which is the No. 3 player in the country.

UK fixed-line giant BT Group surged 6 percent after the Times of London reported that it may be a bid target for private-equity firms that could value the company at £20 billion (US$35 billion). BT said it's not in talks with any private-equity bidders.

Adecco SA, the Switzerland-based staffing giant, reversed early losses to trade 1.5 percent higher.

Fortis Bank, which released results early because a briefcase with the draft results was stolen, fell 1.7 percent after it said annual profit rose 32 percent, or up 45 percent when excluding divestments. Its fourth-quarter results before divestments climbed 24 percent.

Carrefour, Danone and Societe Generale all declined after they were reported to have been included on a list of "national champions" that the French government wants to protect from hostile takeovers.

Publicis, the French advertising firm, advanced 0.3 percent after reporting a 39 percent rise in annual profit, at the top end of analyst forecasts. Net new business for the year was US$9.8 billion, which the company said was the highest figure ever recorded in the worldwide advertising industry.

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