Turkish lira slips, while Migros falls on bid reports

ISTANBUL – Turkey’s lira eased yesterday as emerging market assets fell globally, while shares in supermarket chain Migros fell 5 percent after a bidder pulled out of the sale process. «The trend of focusing closely on foreign markets is continuing… The (main share) index closed the day in positive territory after the positive opening in US markets,» said Meksa Investment research director Tuncay Tursucu. The lira closed at 1.1700 to the dollar in interbank trade, 0.6 percent weaker than Friday’s official close. It had earlier fallen as far as 1.1720. Migros stock closed down 5.3 percent at 21.4 lira after conglomerate Sabanci Holding said it and French retailer Carrefour would not bid for the supermarket chain, after making a joint preliminary bid for it last year. Shares in Carrefoursa, a Sabanci-Carrefour joint venture which would have been the acquiring entity had the bid prospered, fell 3 percent. Koc, which is selling Migros, fell 3.3 percent and shares in rival Sabanci rose 0.8 percent. Sources familiar with the deal have said several private equity firms are interested and analysts said Migros stock was falling as a strategic bidder like Carrefour was more likely to have paid more of a premium than financial players. The main Istanbul stock index rose 0.1 percent after four consecutive days of losses. It hit its lowest level of 2008 earlier in the day. About 70 percent of Turkey’s stock market is owned by foreigners. «Turkish equity markets look particularly vulnerable given the weight of foreign portfolio monies invested plus the more difficult growth/macro environment,» said Timothy Ash of Bear Stearns, noting a slowdown in Turkish growth, a rise in inflation, higher oil prices which hurt energy-importing Turkey and a widening current account deficit. Shares in white goods firm Arcelik closed up 1.3 percent after its CEO said the firm would continue to grow via acquisitions and that he saw revenues of 8 billion lira ($6.8 billion) in 2008, up from a provisional 6.8 billion in 2007. On Friday and earlier yesterday global markets weakened on fears of a US recession after worse-than-expected US jobs data. Asian stocks hit a two-week low, although European stocks stood flat yesterday after Friday’s post-data declines. The dollar gained 1 percent against the yen yesterday. The yield on the August 5, 2009 benchmark bond was unchanged at 16.39 percent and eased to 16.38 percent in Tuesday-dated trade.

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