** HEADLINES **
- Merck KGaA’s Hostile Schering Bid Shows Germans Are Pressing for Shakeup
- U.K. Jobless Claims Probably Rose as Economic Growth Slowed, Survey Shows
- Credit Derivatives Market Expands 39 Percent to $17.3 Trillion, ISDA Says
- Oil Falls as Report May Show U.S. Crude Stockpiles Rose for a Fifth Week
- Sugar Consumption Growth May Slow on Record Prices, Analyst Licht Says
- Gold Trades Near Four-Day High Amid Speculation U.S. Won’t Raise Rates
- British Invasion in French Alps Fuels Property Boom, Tension in Chamonix
** IN PLAY TODAY **
- Earnings of note: Delhaize, Smiths Group, JCDecaux
- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is scheduled to hold its annual earnings
conference. The company earlier this month said profit last year
stalled after a record in 2004 because of more expensive raw
materials and the cost of guarding against a stronger euro.
- Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA said passenger traffic rose 5 percent in
February from a year earlier.
- L’Oreal SA, Chanel SA and 14 other French perfume makers and retailers were
fined a total of 46.2 million euros for fixing prices, the
country’s competition regulator said.
- Total SA said it will propose a four-for-one share split at a May 12
shareholders meeting. The share split would be effective May 18, the Paris-
based company said in a faxed statement yesterday. Separately, Venezuela, the
world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, extended to March 16 a deadline for Total to
pay disputed back taxes or risk having its offices in the country shut down.
- JCDecaux SA, the world’s second-largest outdoor advertising company, said
full-year profit rose 25 percent, lifted by acquisitions in Hong Kong and
increased revenue from ads in public transport such as buses. Net income rose to
195.3 million euros in 2005 from 156.3 million euros a year earlier. The
company said it expects 2006 like-for-like sales growth to exceed 5 percent.
- Delhaize Group, the Belgian owner of the Food Lion supermarket chain in the
U.S., said fourth- quarter profit advanced 74 percent on gains by the dollar and
increased marketing spending that drew shoppers. Net income climbed to 117
million euros from 67.1 million euros a year earlier. Sales advanced 12
percent to 4.97 billion euros, the company said Jan. 19.
- Smiths Group Plc, which builds refueling equipment for Boeing Co. planes, said
first-half profit rose 12 percent as the company sold more medical and anthrax
detection equipment. Net income in the six months ended Jan. 31 increased to
133.5 million pounds ($233.1 million), or 23.5 pence a share, from 119.1
million pounds, or 21.1 pence, a year earlier. Sales rose 19 percent to 1.59