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European Stocks to Watch: Debenhams

Shares of U.K. department store operator Debenhams have plunged 14.94% after CEO Rob Templeman warned investors the company is likely to miss market expectations with its annual results, despite posting a 34.4% rise in first-half profit.

Poor sales performance was blamed for the profit slip, with same-store sales falling 6.9% between March 4 and April 15.

"It is very early in the period, but given this trend we must plan on the basis that like-for-like sales performance may be negative in the second half,” Templeman told Reuters.

Also Active in European Trading:

Societe Generale (up 0.19%) Unicredito Italiano is mulling a takeover offer for SocGen and its Italian peer Capitalia, according to published reports.

International Power (up 1.51%) Traders speculated that French utility Suez could bid for the London-listed utility, according to Reuters.

Peugeot (up 3.03%) Morgan Stanley upgraded the automaker to “overweight” from “equal weight” and raised its target 44% to 65 euros, as it is seen as an important player in the fuel-efficient and low-emission automobile market.

Shanks Group (up 5.46%) and Biffa (up 4.86%) Shares of both British waste firms increased after Goldman Sachs started the companies off with “buy” ratings, as the brokerage said they both have growth potential and are ripe for sector consolidation.

Premiere (up 6.64%) Deutsche Bank upgraded the German pay-TV company to “buy” from “hold” and increased its price target to 24 euros from 12.5 euros, stating that the Premiere’s fundamentals show that the company is in a better strategic position than before and can be viewed as a possible M&A candidate.

Danone (down 0.81%) ABN Amro cut French food company Danone’s share price target to 125 euros from 140 euros, but maintained its “hold” rating, saying it sees limited upside potential for the stock.

Sacyr Vallehermoso (down 2.03%)and Eiffage (down 3.23%) Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso placed a full-page advertisement in Les Echos newspaper on Tuesday calling for Eiffage investors to back its bid to obtain 5 board seats.

Alitalia (down 5.22%) Shares of the Italian airline fell as the deadline for all interested parties to make non-binding offers came without any surprise bids. The bidders include Russia's Aeroflot, Italy’s Air One and a consortium including U.S. private equity fund, Texas Pacific Group.