Europe Market and Football fever: Adidas CEO, Happy

Mon 08 May 2006
LONDON (SHARECAST) – European markets managed to inch higher in the afternoon, hovering at near-five-year highs, as banks rallied taking their cue from a strong performance in the US.

In Frankfurt sportswear manufacturer Adidas led the gains after it said products related to the World Football Championship exceeded expectations in the first quarter and would benefit tomorrow’s first-quarter results.

Chief executive Herbert Hainer said Adidas would now easily achieve its full-year 2006 target of revenues totalling €1bn in football-related products, up 20% year-on-year.

Across the markets the DAX in Frankfurt was trading 20 points higher at 6,134 while in Paris the CAC-40 gained 8 points to 5,294. In London the situation was worse with the FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,079.

Deutsche Post enjoyed a respectable lead after a member of the board told press that the company is eyeing a move into the Chinese letter delivery market while Continental rose after Citigroup raised its price target to €115 from €100 and kept its ‘buy’ advice.

French defence firm EADS beat a higher path after Merrill Lynch upgraded the shares to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’. There was speculation over the weekend that Aeroflot may transfer a planned $3bn order to EADS’ Airbus arm from Boeing.

Speculation that the interest rate cycle in the US may soon come to an end buoyed the banking sector with Swiss investment bank UBS, UK lender HSBC and French banks BNP Paribas and Credit Agricole all higher.