European Stocks to Watch: PPR

French fashion-to-furniture retailer PPR, Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, rose 0.53% after it reported a forecast-beating 5% rise in first-quarter sales Thursday, driven by its luxury brands.

The owner of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, France's Conforama home furnishing and Fnac books and music chain said sales in the three months ended March 31 rose to 4.447 billion euros ($6.07 billion) from 4.235 billion euros a year ago.

Sales of the company’s catalog division fell by 1.9% to 1.05 billion euros. The group’s CFO, Jean Francois Paul, stated that an increase in the division’s Internet sales was not enough to compensate for a drop in traditional sales in the Redcast Group.

Also Active in European Trading:

Umicore (up 6.65%) Citigroup rose Umicore target price to 165 euros ($224.4) from 160 euros ($217.6) based on company's bullish trading statement.

ABB (up 5.22%) The Swiss engineering firm saw net profit almost double in the first quarter amid soaring global demand.

Stora Enso (up 5.11%) The world’s top paper and board maker reported that first-quarter pretax profit rose 30%, beating analysts’ expectations.

ARM (up 4.75%) The semiconductor designer posted a first-quarter profit decline of 13%, but announced plans to double its dividend for 2007 and accelerate its share buyback program to reflect confidence in its growth prospects.

Amvescap (up 4.33%) Shares in the Ango-U.S. fund management firm increased after the company said its first-quarter pretax profit rose 36% to $232.7 million.

Tele2 (up 4.35%) Tele2’s shares traded higher on Thursday, after falling sharply on Wednesday due to a weak first-quarter report, after a trader told Dow Jones News Wires that majority-owner Kinnevik has made a deal to sell its holding in Invik.

France Telecom (up 4.25%) The boss of France Telecom's mobile operations Sanjiv Ahuja steps down as the group rules out any big mergers.

Tui (up 2.13%) Shares of the travel company are trading higher due to recent positive news from the shipping operations and because of takeover speculations according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Autoliv (down 3.99%) The world’s biggest maker of airbags and seat belts posted first-quarter earnings near market consensus, but cut its 2007 margin forecast.