European Stocks to Watch: J. Sainsbury

Shares of U.K. supermarket group J. Sainsbury are up sharply over the last two years, as improving results helped the once-struggling retailer return to 10-year highs.

Takeover interest from private equity groups helped boost the stock in recent months, but that window of opportunity is set to close Friday, leaving shares to trade on the company's hard-won fundamentals.

The original consortium dwindled to just private equity group CVC, as Blackstone and Texas Pacific Group pulled out of the running after Sainsbury’s owning family refused to recommend the deal to shareholders, according to the Financial Times.

Shares in the supermarket chain were flat in morning trading.

Transgene (up 12.49%) Swiss drugmaker Roche signed a partnership with Transgene to develop and commercialize therapeutic vaccines against HPV, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cervical cancer.

TUI (up 5.66%) TUI leads the German gainers on speculation that the Herz family might be considering a stake acquisition or takeover of the travel company after selling its 27% holding in Puma to PPR.

Faes Farma (up 4.66%) The Spanish drug maker announced an initial agreement with a multinational drug company to sell its antihistamine treatment Bilastina in 40 European countries.

Sacyr Vallehermoso (up 4.19%) Shares of the Spanish contactor are up on the expectation that it could sell its 33% stake in Eiffage if it fails to win board seats in next week’s AGM.

Electrolux (up 2.86%) Shares of Sweden’s Electrolux rose after Deutsche Bank started the company with a "buy" recommendation and set a price target of 222 Swedish crowns. The brokerage believes the world’s second-biggest white goods maker has the potential for higher growth and margin expansion.

PartyGaming (up 2.23%) Shares of the U.K. online gaming group were one of the most traded on the FTSE-100 Wednesday, as investors took confidence from the company’s withdrawal from the potentially troublesome Turkish market. Turkey clamped down on Internet gambling, but PartyGaming said the market is not a significant source of revenue.

Eiffage (down 6.27%) Shares in the French property firm dropped after Deutsche Bank downgraded it to "sell" from "hold," noting that the stock is up 66% in the past 3 weeks and has likely peaked, according to Dow Jones News Wires.

Kazakhmys (down 2.21%) Copper mining company Kazakhmys’ former CEO announced he will sell his 4.5% stake in the company, releasing 21.06 million shares.

Hammerson (down 2.04%) Lehman Bros. downgraded the U.K. real estate investment trust to “equal weight” from “overweight,” due to concern about the health of the real estate market.