By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- U.S.-listed shares of most Italian-based companies rose Monday amid signs that a center-left coalition will win Italy's general elections to unseat Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Other European companies saw their stocks rise, as the Bank of New York Europe ADR Index was up 0.56% to 147.22 and the Composite Index added 0.46% to 149.49.
In Paris, President Jacques Chirac abandoned the controversial youth-labor contract that led to weeks of strikes and a political stalemate. See full story.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher, aided by aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200686102/composite AA +8.50% ahead of its quarterly results, which were due after the closing bell. See Market Snapshot.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index added 0.5% at 337.65.
In Italy, exit polls for the general elections pointed t o a narrow victory for Romano Prodi's center-left coalition. The Italian MIB-30 stock market Index gained 0.82% at 38,531, and the index was one of the day's best performers in Europe. Read more about the Italian elections.See Europe Markets.
The Italy ADR Index gained 1.3% to 169.64. Shares of Eni S.p.A. /zigman2/quotes/200785836/composite E -0.28% rose 2.5% to $58.60. Natuzzi S.p.A. /zigman2/quotes/206283720/composite NTZ +6.87% picked up about 1% to $7.57.
However, biopharmaceutical company Gentium S.p.A. /zigman2/quotes/208638271/composite GNT +0.74% lost 3.3% to $19.10. The stock has risen 16% since April 5, when ThinkEquity initiated coverage on the company with a buy rating and a $30 target.
In Paris, the French CAC 40 Index edged up just 0.3% at 5,190 after data showed that the country's industrial production fell 0.9% from January to February. The removal of the so-called CPE employment law at the center of the nation's crisis may help investor sentiment, analysts said.
"Even before the negative impact of the CPE crisis on the economy, the evolution of industrial production in February already gives a picture of the current state of the French economy -- in free fall," said Marc Touati, chief strategist for Natexis Banques Populaires.
The French ADR Index, however, rose 0.54% to 160.71, with volume leader Sanofi-Aventis SA /zigman2/quotes/201967021/composite SNY +1.20% up 1.3% to $45.95. Also gaining were shares of Total SA /zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite TOT -0.29% and Vivendi Universal /zigman2/quotes/203660239/composite V +0.06% .
Alcatel , which recently agreed to buy Lucent Technologies for $13.5 billion, was off 25 cents, or 1.6%, at $15.56.
Oil and gas stocks in the Europe ADR Index gained ground as crude-oil futures rose to their highest level in more than nine weeks, sparked by concern that oil output in Iran might be interrupted after a report that the U.S. might attack Iran's nuclear research facilities. See Futures Movers.
BP Plc /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP -0.18% /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP -0.08% was up 2.1% to $72.40. Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A -0.93% picked up 1.9% to $65.28 and Statoil ASA jumped 5.2% to $30.51 to become of the day's biggest percentage gainers.
Meanwhile, Serono SA , tumbled 9% to $16.06 after the Swiss biotech firm decided not to put itself up for sale, and instead said it was considering an expansion through acquisitions. See full story.
Vodafone /zigman2/quotes/202862751/composite VOD +1.55% /zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed UK:VOD +1.38% shares lost 1% to $21.74. A consortium of telecom companies, including Verizon Communications /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ +1.01% , and private-equity firms are considering a bid for the U.K.-based mobile-phone services provider, according to a published report. See full story.
Shares of Spain's Telefonica /zigman2/quotes/207034643/composite TEF +2.24% , which is reportedly part of the consortium, were up 13 cents at $46.83.