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Profits up at Sweden's Investor

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11:20 CEST+02:00
Swedish investment group Investor turned a profit in the third quarter, the company reported on Tuesday, capitalizing on global financial markets' decreased volatility.

Investor, controlled by the powerful Wallenberg family, reported a net profit of 12.52 billion kronor ($178 million) in the third quarter compared with a loss of 8.8 billion kronor in the third quarter of 2008.

The company has stakes in nearly all of Sweden's major companies, such as telecom equipment maker Ericsson, and its performance is considered a reliable indicator of the state of the Swedish economy.

Investor returned to profit in the second quarter.

The group's net asset value, representing the value of its total portfolio minus liabilities, rose 9.7 percent to 181 kronor a share, beating a prediction of 179 kronor from analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Investor shares were showing a gain of 0.4 percent to 127.75 kronor on the Stockholm exchange which was 0.1 percent weaker.

The Stockholm stock market was among the first to show an improvement in September compared with the same month last year, when the global financial system was staggered by the failure of US investment bank Lehman Brothers

The rebound has helped Investor, which in addition to Ericsson has stakes in the bank SEB, appliance maker Electrolux, defence group Saab and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

"In the summer it became more and more apparent that we had probably seen the worst of the recession," said Investor chairman Börje Ekholm in a statement.

"But demand growth in the real economy is not yet evident. There are still dark clouds before us and we have to hold on to our raincoats."

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