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STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Persimmon up as forecasts raised

Shares in Persimmon PSN.L gain 0.9 percent, outperforming a 0.8-percent decline by the FTSE 250 .FTMC index, after the British housebuilder says its full-year underlying pre-tax profit will be at the top end of expectations.

Persimmon’s comments, made in a pre-close season trading update, lead a number of brokers to raise estimates for the housebuilder.

Among them, Arbuthnot lifts its 2010 pretax profit forecast for Persimmon to 94 million pounds, up from 84 million pounds, and increases its 2011 estimate to 115 million pounds, up from 100 million pounds.

“The conference call, following on from this morning’s year end trading update, went well. Although it is very early in the year... (Persimmon) management was making more positive noises on mortgage availability with appetite from lenders to grow market share, which could increase competition in the market,” Arbuthnot says in a note, repeating its “buy” rating on the stock.

CFD specialist Galvan Research says it believes that Persimmon is better placed than ever as a solid housebuilding recovery play.

“Shares are a buy on any weakness down to the current level of the 20-day moving average at 420 pence,” said Ed Woolfitt, head of trading at Galvan.

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Reuters Messaging rm://jon.hopkins.reuters.com@reuters.net

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