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German Stocks Slide; Praktiker, Pfleiderer Shares Tumble

German stocks declined after orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose less than estimated and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said that it’s too early to “declare victory” in the economic recovery.

Praktiker AG plunged 14 percent after posting a larger loss than analysts had projected. Pfleiderer AG plummeted 45 percent after the company said it’s preparing to file for insolvency.

The benchmark DAX (DAX) Index dropped 1.1 percent to 6,998.8 at the close in Frankfurt. The gauge has still rallied 19 percent this year amid optimism that the euro area will contain its debt crisis and as U.S. economic reports topped estimates. The broader HDAX Index lost 1.2 percent today.

“There’s been a few bits of negative news that I think the markets have grabbed onto overnight,” James Hughes, a senior market analyst at Alpari Ltd. in London, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “It could just be a be a blip; we have seen a pretty good run after all.”

A preliminary report showed that Germany’s consumer price inflation, calculated using a harmonized European Union method, slowed to 2.3 percent in March from 2.5 percent in February. That matched the median of 24 economist forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

U.S. Durable Orders

In the U.S., orders for durable goods in the world’s largest economy rose in February less than economists had estimated. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years advanced 2.2 percent, a report from the Commerce Department showed today. Economists had predicted a 3 percent gain, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

Bernanke said in remarks published yesterday that the unemployment rate in the U.S. remained too high and policy makers don’t rule out further measures to boost growth.

“It’s far too early to declare victory,” Bernanke said in a transcript of an interview with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer provided by the network.

Praktiker (PRA) tumbled 14 percent to 1.81 euros, its biggest decline this month. Germany’s third-largest home improvement retailer posted a loss of 554.7 million euros ($737 million) in 2011 as the company wrote down inventory, took impairments on non-current assets and set aside money for contracts. That compared with a loss of 33.6 million euros in 2010.

Pfleiderer AG (PFD4) plunged 45 percent to 19.2 euro cents, its biggest drop since at least 1998, after the German maker of wood-based panels for furniture and interior fittings said it’s preparing to file for insolvency.

Solarworld, Hochtief

Solarworld AG (SWV) sank 6.6 percent to 2.71 euros as Bank of America Corp. said the company’s margins will come under pressure from Chinese competition and lower subsidies in Germany. Wacker Chemie AG (WCH), the second-largest maker of solar- grade silicon, fell 3.5 percent to 67.04 euros.

Hochtief AG (HOT), Germany’s biggest construction company, retreated 3.2 percent to 48.66 euros.

Infineon Technologies AG (IFX) advanced 1.8 percent to 7.69 euros. Europe’s second-largest semiconductor maker had its share-price estimate raised by 30 percent to 9.50 euros at Exane BNP Paribas.

IVG Immobilien AG (IVG) rallied 13 percent to 2.62 euros after the German real-estate company predicted that it will break even in 2012 and make a profit in 2013. The company reported a pretax loss of 217.6 million euros for 2011.

Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG (CTN), a manufacturer of solar equipment, gained 1.9 percent to 10.78 euros as WestLB AG upgraded the stock to add from neutral.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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