German stocks closed little changed after the nation’s benchmark DAX Index (DAX) posted four straight weeks of losses, as declines in utilities offset gains by chemicals shares.
BASF SE (BAS) and Bayer AG (BAYN) led rising shares, both adding 1 percent. EON AG and RWE AG (RWE), Germany’s biggest utilities, fell more than 1.5 percent as the government said it will keep a tax on atomic plants as it phases out nuclear power by 2022.
The DAX fell less than 0.1 percent to 7,160.3 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt, reversing an earlier advance of as much as 0.6 percent. The gauge has fallen 4.9 percent since May 2 as speculation grew that Greece will restructure its debt and the outlook for other economies in the region deteriorated. The broader HDAX Index gained 0.1 percent today.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he’ll press ahead with new austerity measures after failing to win backing from the main opposition parties. An international panel of inspectors has concluded that the debt-laden country has missed all the fiscal targets agreed in its rescue plan, Der Spiegel reported May 29, without saying how it obtained the information.
The International Monetary Fund’s talks with Greek officials are progressing and should end soon, Reuters said, citing an IMF spokeswoman. A debt restructuring would be a “death sentence” and have a dramatic destabilizing impact on the euro region, European Central Bank executive board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi told the Financial Times.
“A good solution should come out for Greece and the whole euro region,” said Heinz-Gerd Sonnenschein, an equity strategist at Deutsche Postbank AG in Bonn.
BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker, climbed 1 percent to 61.92 euros, while Bayer increased 1 percent to 55.82 euros. Chemicals makers posted the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx 600 today.
SAF-Holland SA (SFQ) surged 2.7 percent to 9.09 euros, the highest price in three months. The supplier of parts for truck trailers said it expects a sales increase of as much as 25 percent this year, WirtschaftsWoche reported.
EON, Germany’s biggest utility, slid 2.3 percent to 19.56 euros, while RWE fell 1.7 percent to 40.31 euros.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition resolved their differences over the timing of an exit from nuclear power, setting a final date of 2022 for the country’s remaining reactors to close. A tax on spent fuel rods will remain as the shutdown proceeds, Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said.
Alternative-energy companies rose, with Phoenix Solar AG (PS4) jumping 9.4 percent to 15.79 euros and Solarworld AG (SWV) soaring 8.8 percent to 9.62 euros. Nordex SE (NDX1) surged 13 percent to 6.80 euros, the highest price in a month.
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