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European Stocks to Watch: SAP

Germany's software company SAP (up 3.13%)fell shy of first-quarter earnings expectations after a difficult three months in which it lost a top manager and faced a lawsuit from a rival, but shares rose 3.13% after the company met license sales expectations.

SAP reported on Friday license sales, which tie customers into lucrative maintenance and service deals, increased 10% to 564 million euros ($767 million).

Operating income rose 6% to 433 million euros ($588.9 million), missing the poll average of 448 million, although SAP said it had spent only 10 to 20 million euros in the quarter of the 300 to 400 million euros it plans to spend on developing new software.

Also Active in European Trading:

Kesko Corporation (up 10.19%) Finland’s top retailer reported expectations-beating, first-quarter results, driven by growth markets like Russia and sending its shares to record highs.

Societe Generale (up 9.85%) The French bank and Unicredit are holding merger talks, but there is no concrete project in the works, according to a newspaper report by German’s Handelsblatt on Friday.

Alliance Boots (up 8%%), Britain's biggest pharmacy chain agreed to a 10.6 billion pound ($21.2 billion) offer from a private equity firm and billionaire Stefano Pessina after they raised their bid by 5%.

FLSmidth (up 7.33%) The Danish engineering group agreed to buy Canadian Groupe Laperriere & Verreault’s mineral activities unit for 4.8 billion Danish crowns ($875 million).

Vallourec (up 6.61%) There is speculation that the company could be a takeover target of Arcelor Mittal (up 3.48%), according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Siemens (up 3.91%) The German engineering giant reported that Chairman Heinrich von Pierer will resign and a source confirmed a report to Reuters suggesting that quarterly results due next week will be strong.

Vodafone (up 1.78%) The company reported Friday it remained happy with its 45% stake in U.S. mobile company Verizon Wireless, denying speculation it could sell the holding.

Sony Ericsson (down 1.67%) Despite the world’s fourth-biggest handset maker posting a doubled first-quarter pretax profit, shares were down due to a slight underperformance compared to market expectations.