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Bayer Aims to Grow Sales, Profitability in All Divisions Through 2022
Topic of the day
Bayer AG said that it is aiming to increase sales and profitability across all its divisions through 2022. The company said it aims to grow sales about 4% in 2019 and between 4% and 5% annually on average from 2020 and 2022. It also aims to grow adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 9% per year on average through 2022, the company added. Bayer last week said it would cut 12,000 jobs and sell its animal-health business, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl's operations, as the company faces challenges in many businesses and thousands of lawsuits related to weed killers it recently acquired as part of Monsanto. Between 2019 and 2022, Bayer said it targets free cash flow of about EUR23 billion. It plans to use its funds to further increase its dividend and finance "selective bolt-on acquisitions," the company added. "We will also explore the option of utilizing a significant portion of the divestment proceeds for share buybacks," said Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Nickl."
The SMI slumped heavily Wednesday, falling 1.6 percent to 8,940 points as it came under pressure from the 3 percent decline on Wall Street the previous day. Fear of an impending recession is growing among investors, who doubt the upside momentum can continue after 10 years of rising stock prices. Cyclical stocks were especially hard hit, both in the United States and in Europe. All 20 SMI components closed down, with cyclical stocks ABB falling 2.4 percent, Adecco 3.3 percent and Lafargeholcim 2.6 percent. Financial stocks suffered downside pressure from falling interest-rate levels, with UBS closing down 1.7 percent and Zurich Insurance down 1.9 percent. Not even upbeat signals from Zurich’s investor day could prevent the stock’s decline, as CEO Mario Greco said Zurich was well positioned to achieve its financial targets. Defensive heavyweights performed slightly better than cyclicals; Nestle closed 1.3 percent lower, Novartis fell 1.6 percent and Roche slid 1.8 percent.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 1.2% at 354.27 after Wall Street racked up heavy losses for a second day on Tuesday. With U.S. markets closed, European markets have continued the downbeat tone, analysts said. "The closure of U.S. markets today has left Europe bereft of any real direction, although the bearish tone persists," said Chris Beauchamp, analyst at IG. Technology stocks were among the biggest fallers, with Altran Technologies falling 8% and ams AG down 6.1%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 both lost 1.4%, while Germany's DAX was down 1.2%. Falls in peripheral stocks were less severe, with Italy's FTSE MIB down just 0.1% and Spain's IBEX 35 down 0.6%.
U.S. markets were closed for a day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.
Asian stock prices fell, led by tumbling tech stocks. The Nikkei continued to slide--the day's drop was recently at 2.5% - tech was down more than 3% amid weakness in that sector across Asia.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell on Tuesday to a recent 2.948%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.990% Monday. U.S. bonds markets were closed on Wednesday for a day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.
UBS rises Zalando to Neutral (Sell) - Target 30 (35) EUR
Dt. Bank rises the Swiss Life target to 415 (370) CHF – Hold
DZ lowers the Software AG target to 46 (50) EUR - Buy
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