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European Stocks to Watch: Liberty International

Shares of Liberty International rose 2.07% on the FTSE 100 on Tuesday after the company reported an increase in underlying profit before tax from £28 million ($56 million) to £36 million ($72 million) and a 4% increase for the quarter in net asset value per share -- another way of valuing property trust shares by subtracting liabilities from assets -- to 1,376 pence ($27.52).

The company benefited from tax savings which were reflected in a 56% increase in underlying earnings per share.

Liberty said that occupancy remained at a high level of 98.4% in established U.K. regional shopping centres, 97.9% overall including recently completed developments.

Most of the European stock markets were closed on May 1, due to the holiday. The only trading exchanges on Tuesday were in U.K., Denmark and Ireland.

Also Active in European Trading:

Punch Taverns (down 3.68%) Shares of the British pub group fell after it signaled it had no immediate plans to free up cash from its 7 billion pounds ($14 billion) of property, Reuters reported.

Danske Bank (down 2.33%) The second largest bank in the Nordic region reported a 22% rise in first-quarter net profit, boosted by the acquisition of Finland’s Sampo Bank.

Slough Estates (up 2.26%) Slough Estates’ shares increased due to continued bidding talk surrounding the company, as well as Liberty International’s better-than-expected first-quarter results bringing the housing sector up.

Northern Rock (down 1.49%) Citigroup cut its target price for the British lender to 1,000 pence from 1,100 pence, based on the company’s underperformance in the European and U.K. bank sectors.

Hanson (down 1.92%) The British building materials firm was downgraded by Merrill Lynch to “sell” from “neutral,” attributable to falling demand for building materials after the U.S. housing market plummeted, an analyst told Reuters.