The Week in Europe

From the deadline for the Northern Rock bids to the rate decisions by the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, here are the events that have shaped this week:

Monday - Feb 4

Ryanair’s profit fell 27% in the third quarter, due to soaring fuel costs and an economic slowdown. The company faces an uphill struggle in 2008 according to CEO Michael O’Leary who said, “I think into next year, we’re in very choppy waters.” Click on the link below to see how the company’s CEO is dealing with the pressure.

Tuesday- Feb 5

The European Union’s service sector fell sharply in January following an already weak estimate. Out of the four big economies in the Euro Zone, France was the only one to register growth during the month. While fears of recession loom over some, others are still optimistic about the future outlook. Click on the link below for more on the issue. 

Despite weak profit, BPshares rose on Tuesday. The company was one of the few stocks in its sector to close in positive territory, showing investor confidence in its restructuring plans. The strategy will be to focus more on dividends than on buy-backs, showing BP’s confidence to move into the future. Follow the link below for further analysis.

Wednesday- Feb 6

BHP Billiton made a $147 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto but the company rejected the offer saying it significantly undervalues the miner. BHP had raised its offer by 30 percent, and investors are now questioning whether it will raise it again, despite saying that this is the first and only bid they will give for Rio. For more on the situation, click on the link below.

The mobile business is clearly working for France Telecom at this point. The company reported better-than-expected full-year earnings Wednesday and a positive future outlook. Follow the link below to learn what lies ahead for the telecommunications company. 

Thursday- Feb 7

The Bank of England and European Central Bank both made expected moves on rate cut decisions Thursday. The BoE cut rates by 25 basis points to 5.25 percent, and the ECB left theirs unchanged at 4 percent. Click the link below for more information on rate cut decisions.

GlaxoSmithKline had its biggest single day loss in the company’s history on Thursday. Shares of the pharmaceutical company fell 7.6 percent Thursday following its earnings. CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier thinks the market overreacted and is still confident there will be some buying back in the year to come. To hear more from Garnier on his company’s outlook, click on the link below.

Friday- Feb 8

Although Alcatel-Lucent’s quarterly earnings were not as bad as some expected, the company gave a weak outlook for 2008, cancelled its dividend and posted a net loss of 3.5 billion euros Friday. The telecommunications company fell to a record low of 3.80 euros but recovered as European stock markets turned higher. Click on the link below for more on the company’s present situation and predictions for the coming year.