The European banking sector saw momentum on the back of the potential takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. A consortium of Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis could outbid the current bid from British bank Barclays.
Shares of RBS traded up 2.13%, Santander was up 0.51%, ABN was up 6.42% and Barclays was up 1.21%.
ABN AMRO also got a boost from strong first-quarter results with a net profit increase of 31%, helped by the sale of its U.S. mortgage business.
Also Active in European Trading:
Kloeckner & Co. (up 5.14%) The German steel firm announced its U.S. unit Namasco agreed to buy the U.S. steel distribution company Primary Steel. The takeover is still subject to approval by U.S. regulators.
Royal Philips Electronics (up 4.80%) Shares of the Amsterdam-based company rose after it posted a strong rise in first-quarter profit, benefiting from the sale of shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, although sales showed a small decline.
Neuf Cegetel (up 4.79%) The France-based telecoms operator denied a newspaper report it had completed a deal to buy Club Internet, a French Internet operator.
Metro (up 4.58%) Credit Suisse upgraded its rating for the German retailer from “neutral” to “outperform” and increased its price target to 60 euros from 44 euros. “The whole retail sector looks promising at the moment,” a trader told Dow Jones Newswires.
Mobistar (up 2.03%) Both Citigroup and Dexia upped shares of the Brussels telephony company Mobistar to “Buy,” with a price target of 72 euros due to a surprise turnaround in the company’s operations. Mobistar currently trades about 66 euros.
DS Smith (down 6.47%) Shares fell after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company to "sell" from "neutral" and cut its price target to 200 pence from 210 pence, stating that the over rising old corrugated container (OCC) prices -- used to produce containerboard -- are the reason for the demotion.
BMW (down 1.65%) BMW was downgraded by HVB on Monday to "hold" from "buy," saying that analysts' consensus earnings expectations are too optimistic.
Outokumpu (down 1.29%) The Finnish stainless steel and technology company is down as UBS cut the company’s shares to “Neutral” from “Buy.” Last week Outokumpu revealed that some staff based at the company's Tornio plant were under investigation for suspected wrongdoing, but had provided no further details.