The main European stock markets were up in the week from the 10th to the 14th of February, 2014 (Milan +3.8%, London +1.4%, Frankfurt +3.9%, Paris +2.6%), helped by the statement of recently appointed Fed Governor Janet Yellen: monetary policy will continue with progressive reduction in the bond buying program, should macro indicators progress as forecast. Positive news, moreover, came out of China, with January imports and exports data beating expectations (trade balance at 31.86$/mld vs 25.64$/mld in December), Germany (Q4 ’13 GDP +0.3% vs expectations of +0.1%) and France (GDP +0.3% vs +0.1%).
Auto & Parts stocks led the gains (sector index +6.5% vs Stoxx 600 +2.5%); Goldman Sachs confirmed its positive view on the sector, improving the outlook for new car registrations in Europe, now +6.4%, +5.8% and +3.1% in the three years from 2014 to 2016 (previous estimates were +3.2%, +4.7%, +2.9%); the broker prefers stocks with lower exposure to Emerging Markets volatility. Investors reacted positively, moreover, to better than expected Q4 results for Renault, Faurecia and Michelin.
Pirelli closed the week up 6.5% at 12.61€ with an average trading volume of 3.2 million shares per day; investor sentiment on tyre stocks is improving thanks to commentary provided during the FY13 reporting season: 2014 volumes should show moderate growth and price/mix vs raw materials should develop positively. In its sector update, GS reviewed its valuation on the stock (Sell, TP 10.6€) discounting a more cautious view on foreign exchange and tyre demand in South America. Consesus Target Price stood at 12.04€ with 74% of analysts advising to Buy or Hold the shares.