German stocks advanced during the first trading session of the year, led by automakers.
Volkswagen AG led gains on the DAX after Porsche SE, the sports-car maker with which it plans to merge, persuaded a U.S. judge to dismiss two lawsuits claiming the company cost hedge funds more than $2 billion by misleading short-sellers in its acquisition of Volkswagen shares in 2008. Also, Volkswagen’s supervisory board unanimously extended Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn’s contract by five years to the end of 2016.
Volkswagen preferred shares, which have replaced its common stock on the DAX, rose 5.1 percent to 127.60 euros, while Porsche’s preferred shares rose 15 percent to 68.49 euros in Frankfurt. Competitor Bayerische Motoren Werke AG also rose, with BMW shares gaining 4.4 percent to 61.45 euros.
The DAX increased 1.1 percent to 6,989.74. The broader HDAX Index also added 1.1 percent to 3,559.17.
“It’s the first day of a new year, and the majority of investors are looking for a better equity year in 2011,” Robert Halver, head of research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in an interview.
Infineon Technologies AG added 3.7 percent to 7.22 euros, as it was reported global semiconductor sales rose 14 percent in November compared with a year earlier. “We expect continued moderation in sales growth, in line with our November forecast,” Brian Toohey, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, said in a statement.
Stocks in Germany were helped by a report showing Europe’s manufacturing industry grew more than initially estimated in December, powered by Germany’s export-led expansion. A gauge of manufacturing in the country rose to 60.7 in December from 58.1 the previous month, London-based Markit Economics said today. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
K+S AG increased after the maker of household, industrial and commercial salt products and fertilizers sued Rohm & Haas Co. over the 2009 sale of Morton International, claiming “multiple breaches” of the deal that made the Kassel, Germany- based company the world’s biggest supplier of salt. K+S added 1.2 percent to 57.03 euros.
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