Thursday, 26 May 2011
Banking and mining companies’ shares lifted European markets, led by the British FT100.

U.K. stocks climbed, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index rising for a second day, as gains at Barclays outweighed losses at Cable & Wireless Communications In London, of the stocks in FTSE 100 index, Next led the decliners with a loss of 2.4% followed by losses in Burberry Group of 1.6% to 1,320 pence, in British American Tobacco of 1.4% to 2,681 pence.

Burberry, the luxury fashion brand, was dragging the personal goods sector lower. The group is due to report its final results on Thursday, and revealed in April that it expects profits for the year to 31 March to be at the top end of forecasts, after a strong final quarter. Average Profit Before Tax & Exceptional Items will reach GBP295M, or in other words, a 37% more than last year´s GBP215M. The Average Sales stood by GBP1.55B, what implies a +21% from the GBP1.28B achieved in 2010.

Shares have risen by around 15% since the start of January. Burberry preannounced sales in April with strong growth in both its retail and wholesale businesses. Profits are seen boosted further by an improvement in margins as the company sold fewer marked-down goods and managed its stock better. Investors will be looking for any comments on the impact of the Japanese earthquake disasters on that market and the outlook for the luxury sector this year.
Three high-profile City brokers upped their price targets for retail giant Marks & Spencer on the back of emerging strategic plans from the management. The retailer published Tuesday its full year results to 2 April 2011 yesterday, in which it posted a pre-tax profit slightly ahead of forecasts. Its pre-tax profit for the 52 weeks to 2 April upped to £714.3 million, compared to consensus forecasts of £711 million.

On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank gave the stock a "hold" rating and upped its target from 370pence to 420 pence. In a note, the German bank stated: "The results were described as dull by some commentators - we view this as harsh given the very healthy profits growth despite a tough environment. Certainly the results were in line at profit before tax of £741.3m (DBe £714m, consensus £710m)."

Elsewhere in Europe, German sportswear maker Puma AG (PUM.XE) Friday said it will acquire the remaining stake in Dutch body wear and socks company Dobotex, in which it currently holds 50.1%. Less than a week after, the Germany-based company´s shares traded low Wednesday, closing with a final loss of 3.16%. As the acquirer clarified, it is a friendly offer, which has the full support of the Dobotex management team and includes the Dobotex company as well as Dobologic, its logistics branch.

Across The Pond, U.S. stocks snapped a three-session losing skid, as investors rode a boost in commodities prices to snap up shares of energy, materials and industrial companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 38.45 points, or 0.31%, to finish at 12394.66. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 4.19 points, or 0.32%, to 1320.47, while the Nasdaq Composite added 15.22 points, or 0.55%, to 2761.38.

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