Plus more European stocks making headlines in Wednesday's market
ALLIANCE & LEICESTER was up £1.06 to £7.54... Price weakness opens door to raider the company 's weak share price has made it a likely takeover target, as it emerged yesterday that the company held talks with Grupo Santander last month, The Times reports. Notes those discussions are not active, although Santander has been careful not to rule out another approach. Points out the stock has plunged 43% in recent months, amid worries about the impact of the credit crunch.
MARKS & SPENCER was up £0.01 to £5.61... Top UK pick retailer over Xmas - Goldman - Goldman Sachs says the company is its top pick from the UK general retail sector over Christmas. Believes the company should be able to outperform its peers given its demographics and defensive sales mix. Cuts target to £6.20 from £7.45, to reflect the secrtor de-rating but reiterates buy.
BP (BP) was up £0.01 to £6.17... Settles tax dispute with Alaska - The FT reports that the company has agreed to pay Alaska US$379 million to settle a dispute over income tax liabilities for 2000-2002.
VINCI was down €2.15 to €48.50... Confirms it bought 3.3% of Aeroports de Paris - The company says it won't raise its stake until the French government's position is clear.
THOMSON was down €0.51 to €9.22... Goldman Sachs initiates with neutral and €11 target. The company says the company 's share price is nearing a new all-time low, though in broker's view it is not yet cheap enough to be attractive, given long-term structural and execution risks facing nearly all its businesses and significant exposure to the US consumer. The broker's 2008 and 2009 operating income forecasts are c.15% below Reuters consensus; Goldman believes that economic woes will drive disappointing results in DVD replication/distribution and also sees significant risks to the Content Services business from the current writers strike in Hollywood.
PSA was down €0.59 to €51.26... 2007 French sales rise 2% to 779,750 vehicles
BMW was up €0.38 to €42.73... Rolls Royce sales up 25% in 2007 (press) - the company 's Rolls Royce unit is likely to have increased sales by 25% in 2007 amid increased demand for the Phantom, UK's Times reported.
LUFTHANSA was down €0.02 to €18.20... Looking for new recruits (press) - the company reportedly plans to hire some 4,300 new employees in Germany this year as it adds planes and destinations.
TERNA was up €0.04 to €2.80... Kepler upbeat on tariff review - Kepler comments that the 2008-11 tariff scheme released last weekend by AEEG matched its expectations for a positive review, and in the end was even more favorable than factored in broker's assumptions.
REED ELSEVIER NV was down €0.34 to €13.31... Maintains its earnings per share growth target of at least 10%, Het Financieele Dagblad reports, citing an interview with CEO Crispin Davis.
OMX was up SEK1.00 to SEK262.50... Board recommends Borse Dubai bid - the company 's board recommends the bid from Borse Dubai. Separately, US govt approves Borse Dubai as minority shareholder in Nasdaq.
ACERGY was up NOK3.00 to NOK124.25... Books US$700 million contract in Angola from French group Total, to develop the Pazflor offshore field.
SANTANDER (STD) was down €0.20 to €14.59... Talks held with Alliance & Leicester - Alliance & Leicester's weak share price has made it a likely takeover target, as it emerged yesterday that it held talks with the company last month, The Times reports. Notes those discussions are not active, although the company has been careful not to rule out another approach. Points out the A&L stock has plunged 43% in recent months, amid worries about the impact of the credit crunch.