* DANONE: Danone, the world’s biggest yogurt maker, reported higher first-quarter sales, led by bottled water and baby food. Revenue rose to 5.12 billion euros ($6.7 billion) from 4.76 billion euros a year earlier, the Paris-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. That beat the 5.05 billion euro average estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. So-called like-for-like sales, which exclude divestments and currency changes, increased 6.9 percent, surpassing analyst estimates of 6.5 percent growth. (BBG)
* SWISS RE: Swiss Re confirmed its financial targets and expects margins to improve at its two main reinsurance businesses. New business is set to improve margins at its life and health unit, the Zurich-based company said in a statement today. Swiss Re also expects “a further firming of the reinsurance cycle” in property and casualty. (BBG)
* RIO: Rio Tinto said first-quarter iron ore production rose 9 percent, driven by expansions in Western Australia. Output of the steelmaking raw material rose to 45.6 million metric tons in the three months to March 31 from 41.9 million tons a year earlier. (BBG)
* GLENCORE INTERNATIONAL: The world’s largest publicly traded commodities supplier rejected claims that it paid $1.8 million to paramilitaries in Colombia. The company was responding to accusations before they were aired on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Panorama program. (BBG)
* REPSOL: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced plans to seize control of that country’s largest oil company YPF SA, a unit of Spain’s Repsol YPF. The government sent a bill to Congress to take a 51 percent stake in YPF SA, Fernandez said. (BBG)
* SAGE GROUP: The U.K.’s largest software maker was downgraded to hold from buy at Panmure Gordon & Co. (BBG)
* REXEL: The electrical-equipment distributor increased the size of a bond sale to $500 million from $400 million. (BBG)
* UPGRADES: JD Wetherspoon (HSBC). Largan (Nomura). Hikma (UBS). Saint Gobain, Schindler (CS). Norilsk Nickel, F&C Asset Management, Schroders (Citi). Carrefour (ING). ITV (Exane). (BBG)
* DOWNGRADES: Towngas China (UBS). Astra Agro Lestari (Citi). SAP, Enquest, Greene King (HSBC). Shanks, Homeserve (Barclays). DNO, Soco (CS). First Solar (Goldman). YPF (BofA). Remy Cointreau, Mediaset Espana (Exane). Repsol, Celestica (DB). (BBG)
* CORPORATE DIARY: Rio Tinto Plc Q1 Production Results, L’Oréal AGM, Danone Q1 Sales, Swiss Re Investor Day, Investor AB Shareholders Meeting, Ahold Shareholders Meeting, Burberry Q4 Sales, Energias de Portugal AGM, Marks & Spencer Q4 Sales, Accor Q1 Sales, Sika Q1 Trading Statement, Sulzer Q1 Trading Statement, Mediaset AGM, Daily Mail & General Trust / Euromoney Institutional Investor H1 Pre-close Trading Statement, Austrian Post AGM, Castellum AB Q1 Results, Kuoni Shareholders Meeting, Perform Group Shareholders Meeting, Zumtobel Captial Markets Day (17 – 18 April).
* MACRO DIARY: EC – EU25 New Car Registrations (7:00), UK – CPI, DCLG UK House Prices, Retail Price Index (9:30), EC – EuroZone CPI, Zew Survey (10:00), GE – Zew Survey (10:00), IT – Current Account (10:00), US – Housing Starts, Building Permits (13:30), US – Industrial Production, Manufacturing Production, Capacity Utilization (14:15). Speakers: ECB’s Draghi (13:30).