Bourses end higher after Wall St rallies

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Italy’s victory in the World Cup final on Sunday gave a boost to shares in Juventus, the Turin club threatened with relegation over a match-fixing scandal.

Last week, a prosecutor called for Juventus to be relegated to Italy’s third division. The club has won Serie A - the country’s top league - for the last two years.

But there have been calls for Juventus to be shown leniency after Italy’s World Cup success. Several Juventus players were in the national side that beat France after winning a penalty shootout. The court’s decision was due to be announced imminently.

Juventus shares rose as much as 9.3 per cent before easing back to finish 5.4 per cent higher at €1.4760.

The market as a whole recovered from an early decline as investors began to turn their attention to the forthcoming second-quarter reporting season in Europe. The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index finally settled with a rise of 4.59 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 1,321.04.

Unibail, the French property group, rose 1.7 per cent to €135.10 after Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to “buy” ahead of its half-year results on July 25.

“We believe that Paris office rents are starting to rise again while the investment market remains strong - the key news item of interest in the [results] statement is likely to be progress on the letting of Capital 8, the major office project in central Paris,” said analyst Alec Pelmore in a research note.

Merrill has a price objective of €150 on the stock.

TomTom, the Dutch car navigation systems group, tumbled 5.2 per cent to €29.83 after it cut its second quarter sales outlook due to problems with component supplies.

The company said late on Friday that its revenues would be limited to about €275m, compared with analysts’ estimates of between €309m and €375m.

Semiconductor stocks were a mixed bag as investors awaited the start of the sector’s quarterly reporting season.

Jonathan Dutton, analyst at UBS, noted that semiconductor stocks had fallen sharply over the past six months amid concerns about the impact of slowing global consumer spending and negative currency moves.

But he said: “Although semiconductor demand in the first half was patchy it wasn’t as abysmal as the recent share price declines would suggest.”

He downgraded STMicroelectronics from “buy” to “neutral”, due to its high PC-related exposure and high euro-denominated costs. STM shares fell 0.4 per cent to €12.20.

Mr Dutton also cut his price targets for ASML, the Dutch chipmaking equipment manufacurer, and Philips Electronics, but reiterated “buy” ratings on both. ASML shares rose 0.5 per cent to €15.44 and Philips added 1.1 per cent to €23.96.

Meanwhile, Scott Geels at Bernstein Research said Infineon, the German chipmaker, should show a profit for the first time in five quarters, in part due to a recovery in dynamic random access memory (DRAM) prices. Infineon shares rose 1.7 per cent to €8.98.

Banca Popolare di Verona e Novara jumped 4.3 per cent to €21.46 after it confirmed it was considering a merger with Cattolica Assicurazioni. A tie-up between the two would create one of Italy’s biggest bancassurance companies. Cattolica shares slipped 0.2 per cent to €46.41.

Roche, the Swiss pharmaceuticals company, rose 0.6 per cent to SFr207.20. The company said it had filed its Avastin drug with European regulators for use against previously untreated breast cancer.

Andreas Theisen at WestLB said the move was expected, with breast cancer representing “an important pillar in the overall life cycle management of Avastin.” He added that he expected formal approval for the drug in the first half of next year.

Meanwhile, Roche shares also got support from a favourable legal ruling in the US over its experimental anaemia drug CERA.

US rival Amgen had asked the International Trade Commission to bar Roche from importing the drug, which is not yet approved, intio the US. Roche said the decision cleared the way for it to focus on obtaining U.S. regulatory approval for the treatment.

Weakness in the heavily-weighted oil and gas sector, as crude prices retreated from record highs, limited the market’s advance.

Statoil shed 1.9 per cent to NKr183.50 and OMV gave up 1.8 per cent to €47.71.

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