Stocks Little Changed, Although Some Big Names Make Moves

LONDON -- European equity markets are mostly holding near flat today as volumes remain thin thanks to the U.K. bank holiday. Data from Germany this morning showed business confidence has fallen for the fourth consecutive month, with the eurozone sovereign-debt crisis continuing to curb growth and expectations of economic recovery on the continent.

Meanwhile, a newspaper report in Germany said the Chancellor Merkel warned members of her coalition to watch what they say regarding the Greek exit from the euro, reinforcing her commitment to doing all it takes to keep the euro together. The German DAX (INDEX: ^GDAXI) has been seeing little movement today, up just 0.1%.

As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.

Nokia (NYS: NOK) has been seeing some of the largest moves on the continent today, up more than 11% after a U.S. jury ruled that rival firm Samsung had breached a number of patents held by Apple. Samsung shares plummeted in Korea overnight, offering a much-needed opportunity for Nokia to make headway into the smartphone market, where so far its Lumia handset has been failing to gain traction.

Elsewhere, BNP Paribas (NASDAQOTH: BNPQY.PK) is up 2% following a newspaper report saying it will begin to receive offers for its Egyptian consumer banking unit within the next few days. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk said banking officials in the country confirmed the French bank could be selling its local unit for around $400 million.

Also in the financial sector, Deutsche Bank (NYS: DB) is up 2.3% on news it has changed the rules surrounding employee bonuses to allow the company to claw back stock awarded to workers by former employers. In a move designed to redress the balance between risk and reward, as well as the interests of shareholders and employees of banks in the post-financial-crisis world, this now brings about the question of whether other big names will follow suit.

This news comes just days after Deutsche Bank's structured-products arm was sued by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the U.S., which claimed Deutsche Bank failed to fulfill its requirements of repurchasing loans that had been pooled and securitized.

On the downside, pharmaceutical major Sanofi (NYS: SNY) is down 1% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration refused to accept an application for approval of the company's multiple-sclerosis drug, Lemtrada. The company said that its Genzyme unit will work with the FDA over the coming weeks to resubmit the application as soon as possible.

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