Silver-lined clouds at Brussels stock market

23rd January 2008, Comments 1 comment

In line with the other European stock markets, Euronext Brussels opened with heavy losses Tuesday morning.

In line with the other European stock markets, Euronext Brussels opened with heavy losses Tuesday morning. At 9 am, shares had dropped by 4.14 per cent with banks and power companies among the worst hit. Thanks to the very same banks, the losses have been more or less cleared. The result for the Bel20 share index at midday is a 0.5 per cent profit.

Immediately after opening time, the Bel20 share index of the 20 most prominent Belgian shares, dived below 3,400 base points.

One hour later, the index loss had disappeared and the Bel20 was quoted to have climbed 0.6 per cent to 3,514.39 points. In the Bel20 share index, 8 shares have now gone up and 11 have dropped.

Among the financial players, it’s Belgian-French Dexia that stands out most. Its heavily bashed share rose by 5.9 per cent to 14.72 euro. Dexia Bank denied that the lowering of the rate of American bond insurer Ambac would affect its results.

Meanwhile, British stockbroker Keefe, Bruyette & Woods lowered its price target for Dexia from 14.6 to 12.1 euro. Stock market analysts therefore believe Dexia may be hit harder by the crisis than was anticipated.

KBC Bank and Insurances did well too and rose to 80.00 euro, a 3 per cent increase. Financial key player Fortis lost 1.6 per cent this morning and was quoted at 13.89 euro.

A notable loser is GBL. The holding of the Frère family lost 3 per cent and was quoted at 75.44 euro. GBL has important stakes in cyclically sensitive shares such as Total, Suez and Lafarge. Its sister holding NPM quoted a 0.75 per cent drop and arrived at 39.90 euro.

Among the other winners is retailer group Delhaize, which managed to achieve a 3.3 per cent profit and was quoted at 47.99 euro. Delhaize achieves 75 per cent of its turnover in the United States.

Last week, the BEL20 share price index dropped by 8 per cent, the sharpest fall in 5 years. Today’s revival is not that surprising, given the fact that many considered yesterday’s drop as highly exaggerated.

The sense of alarm that held the European stock exchanges in a tight grip 24 hours ago has blown over to Asia. Still, in spite of the slight revival, stock markets all over the world are now anxiously awaiting the sound of the opening bell at Wall Street. 

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