Thomson Reuters debuts amid global market jitters

Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:23pm EDT
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By Gavin Haycock and Robert MacMillan

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of global information company Thomson Reuters Corp fell in their debut on Thursday on concerns over a financial industry downturn.

The new company, formed by Thomson's purchase of Reuters for more than $16 billion in cash and stock, hopes its portfolio of products, ranging from financial to legal and health care, will help it ride out the credit crisis.

The combination allows Thomson to expand its financial data offering from its North American base, and is meant to help Reuters reduce its exposure to financial markets.

Even so, brokerage ABN put a "sell" rating on the stock, arguing that the financial industry is facing big job cuts and takeovers.

Goldman Sachs analyst Peter Appert, who has a "neutral" rating on the stock, offered a similar downbeat assessment.

"The timing in some respects couldn't be worse," Appert said. "You are dramatically expanding your exposure to the financial services industry at a time when the financial services industry is arguably facing its toughest environment in the past decade."

Indeed, Merrill Lynch said on Thursday it would cut 2,900 jobs after a $2 billion quarterly loss.

Shares in Thomson Reuters, which announced that it may buy back up to $500 million of its shares over the year, fell around 5 percent in Toronto and New York.   Continued...

<p>Thomson Reuters Deputy Chairman Niall FitzGerald (L), Thomson Reuters Chief Executive Officer of Markets Division Devin Wenig (C) and London Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Clara Furse open the market at the London Stock Exchange, April 17, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>