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European Stocks to Watch: Novartis

Shares of Swiss drugmaker Novartis traded higher (up 0.86%) after the company posted strong sales despite problems with the U.S. food and drug administration.

The company reported on Monday an 11% rise in first-quarter net profit to $2.171 billion driven by strong sales of its flagship drugs, the hypertension drug Diovan and the leukemia drug Gleevec.

Sales of Diovan rose 23% to $1.15 billion and Gleevec sales rose 21% to $674 million.

The company also confirmed its recently revised sales outlook, saying it expects revenue to increase at least 5% this year.

Scottish & Newcastle (up 3.94%) SAB Miller has allied with Diageo to bid for U.K. brewer Scottish & Newcastle with a view to splitting the business in two.

Nestle (up 1.19%) The Swiss company posted a better than expected jump in sales and confirmed its outlook for the full year despite a big jump in raw material prices.

MTU Aero Engines (up 2.43%) The Company reported on Monday that first-quarter underlying profit rose 32% due to strong growth at its original equipment business, and reiterated its profit forecast for the full year.

Societe Generale (down 2.40%) Shares fell back after the French bank denied it was in merger talks with Italian bank Unicredit.