German Stocks Little Changed Before U.S. Durable Goods

German stocks were little changed, after the DAX (DAX) index reached its highest level in five years last week, as Chinese industrial profits increased and U.S. orders for durable goods rose in December.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG dropped 0.7 percent as a gauge of European travel and leisure stocks declined. Kloeckner & Co. SE rose after its chief executive officer said he expects pre-tax earnings to increase this year.

The DAX fell 0.1 percent to 7,852.45 at 2:38 p.m. in Frankfurt. The equity benchmark added 2 percent last week and has risen 3.2 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget and American companies reported better- than-expected earnings. The broader HDAX Index rose less than 0.1 percent today.

The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the equity benchmark was 33 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese industrial companies’ profits rose 17 percent to 895 billion yuan ($144 billion) in December from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday in Beijing.

Orders for durable goods in the U.S. rose 4.6 percent in December after a 0.8 percent gain the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. Excluding demand for transportation equipment, which is volatile month to month, orders rose 1.3 percent.

The median forecast of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2 percent gain in overall orders. Estimates ranged from a decrease of 1.4 percent to a 4.5 percent advance.

U.S. Housing

The National Association of Realtors may report at 10 a.m. in Washington that its index of pending sales of houses was unchanged last month.

Deutsche Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, slid 0.7 percent to 15.17 euros. A gauge of travel and leisure stocks was among the worst performers among the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

RWE AG fell 0.6 percent to 28.26 euros. Germany’s second- biggest utility plans to cut investments by as much as 50 percent to offset losses from the phasing out of nuclear power in the country, Chief Executive Officer Peter Terium told reporters yesterday at a company event in Davos, Switzerland.

EON SE, the country’s largest utility, declined 2.1 percent to 13.04 euros, for the biggest drop on the DAX.

Kloeckner Earnings

Kloeckner, Europe’s largest independent steel trader, advanced 0.6 percent to 9.28 euros, after earlier advancing as much as 2 percent.

CEO Gisbert Ruehl told Deutsches Anleger Fernsehen that the company’s pre-tax earnings will rise to at least 190 million euros ($255 million) this year as cost cuts take effect. Ruehl said he sees hope for a recovery in demand starting in the second half and an increase in 2014, driven by China and the U.S.

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, rose for a sixth day, gaining 1.3 percent to 187.10 euros, its highest price in more than 20 years. Kepler Capital Markets raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from hold.

Separately, Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 23 percent increase in global auto sales to 9.75 million units in 2012.

Porsche SE added 1.2 percent to 66.44 euros. Rheinmetall AG, the maker of KS Kolbenschmidt engine pistons, gained 1.5 percent to 40.72 euros.

Gagfah SA, Germany’s second-largest residential property company by market value, rose 1.4 percent to 9.46 euros after Manager Magazin reported that the company may receive a takeover offer from larger competitor Deutsche Wohnen AG.

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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