The main European stock markets were mixed in the week from the 7th to the 11th of January 2013 (Milan +3.2%, London +0.5%, Frankfurt -0.8%, Paris -0.6%). In its Thursday meeting the European Central Bank, as expected, left its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.75%, commenting that the economy is still weak and a recovery is expected only in the second half of 2013. Concerns arose, moreover, from the increase in Chinese inflation over the month of December (+2.5%, more than expected) which could limit the scope for monetary easing.
Auto & Parts stocks retreated in the week (Stoxx A&P was down 1%); European car registration data for the month of December showed that the five largest markets (France, Spain, Italy, Germany and UK) contracted 14% on a yearly basis. Valuations near to 10-month lows and upside in case of an improvement in consumer confidence led Goldman Sachs analyst to reiterate its attractive stance on Auto & Parts stocks in 2013. The broker is however more cautious on tyre stocks given their strong performance in 2012 (+44% on average) and possible pricing pressure ahead; accordingly, all stock recommendations and target prices were revised down.
Pirelli stock was up +1.8% in the week, closing at €9.11 with an average daily traded volume of 3.2 million shares. Bank of America – Merril Lynch initiated the coverage on the stock with a “Buy” recommendation and an €11.5 target price. As a result, Pirelli average target price stood at €9.9 with 79% of analysts recommending to “Buy” or “Hold” the stock.