SodaStream Demand Surges and 3 Hot Stocks Making Waves

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New car registrations in the EU dropped by 10.3% during the month of November. A decline of 3.5% was seen in Germany, 19.2% in France, 20.1% in Italy and 20.3% in Spain. In stark contrast, new car registrations were up 11.3% in the UK. Interestingly, there is a divide to be seen among car makers in Europe in terms of sales losses, says a report in Bloomberg. The so-called Latin carmakers, more exposed to the Southern European markets, have been taking it on the chin compared to the German auto manufacturers who have managed to increase market share. Peugeot, Renault and Fiat posted the biggest sales drops in November. General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F), both with double-digit losses, may also be slotted in this category. On the other hand, German automakers such as BMW and Daimler AG gained sales.

Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) announces its agreement with ProSiebenSat.1 Group to purchase the latter’s SBS Nordic operations, comprising 12 television networks in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, for about $1.7 billion. The deal will “expand Discovery’s footprint across the Nordic region, which includes some of the most well penetrated and stable TV markets in the world,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. Discovery also announced an increase of $1 billion to its existing stock repurchase program.

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Shares of Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) are down over 17% on news that the retailer and founder Richard Schulze issued a joint statement announcing they have agreed to give the latter more time for due diligence before making a bid. The reason is ostensibly to allow for the inclusion of Best Buy’s full-year results in the due diligence review. Schulze may therefore submit his proposal to the company’s board on or after February 1, 2013 through February 28, 2013, and the board will announce its position on the offer within 30 days. A media report yesterday had claimed that Schulze was on track to submit a bid in the range of $5 billion-$6 billion within the earlier deadline of December 16, having tied up the funds required for the bid.

Boots-on-the-ground reconnaissance by StreetAuthority reveals a steadily increasing number of store displays for SodaStream machines manufactured by SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) that enable people to make customized soft drinks at home. Going into the holiday season, the machines are selling very well, appealing particularly to families that consume a lot of soda on the grounds of cost effectiveness. The ‘Coke-Killers’ are also popular with diabetics as they offer a number of sugar-free options.

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