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European Stocks to Watch: Carlsberg

By CNBC.com

Carlsberg shares rose 4% after the Danish brewer reported a first-quarter net profit compared with a loss in the previous year and improved its full-year guidance Wednesday.

Carlsberg posted a first-quarter net profit of 45 million Danish Krone ($8.2 million) after a loss of 219 million last year. Dow Jones analysts have predicted a net loss of 117 million Danish Krone.

The results were driven by a better performance of Carlsberg products in Western Europe and a success of the company’s joint venture with BBH in Russia.

Also Active in European Trading:

Rio Tinto (up 6.5%) Shares of the world's third-largest mining group surged to the top of the FTSE-100 in London on market speculation of a $100 billion bid approach from larger rival BHP Billiton, Reuters reported.

N Brown (up 6.3%) The U.K. home shopping group posted a 20% increase in annual profit reaching 65.4 million pounds ($130 million).

BNP Paribas (up 3.9%) The French bank reported a better-than-expected 24.5% rise in first-quarter net profit on Wednesday, assisted by earnings growth at its investment banking and asset management units and capital gains.

Adidas (up 0.6%) Shares of the German sporting goods maker continue to make gains after pleasing investors with its earnings released yesterday.

JD Wetherspoon (down 7.1%) The U.K. pub group warned that increased investment in its pubs ahead of this summer’s smoking ban in England would results in its full-year profit missing market expectations.

Easyjet (down 5%) The British airline reported Wednesday it halved its first-half loss, but results still were hit by higher taxes and rising interest rates.

Antofagasta (down 4.4%) ABN Amro downgraded the Chilean miner’s stock to “sell” from “hold,” saying that despite the share price rising 27% over the last two months, the stock remains one of the slower performers among the miners.

Sage (down 3.9%) Britain’s biggest software group posted underlying first-half pretax profit and revenues at the lower end of market forecasts on Wednesday.

Aegon (down 3.6%) The Dutch insurer posted first quarter numbers well below forecasts after experiencing a loss in its home market.

Swisscom (down 1.4%) The Swiss telecommunications group reported an unchanged first-quarter profit on Wednesday, missing expectations and reporting that it would sell Antenna Hungaria to accumulate cash for its planned takeover of Italy's Fastweb.