German Stocks Rise Before European Leaders Meet at Summit

German stocks advanced to a five- year high, with the benchmark DAX (DAX) Index surpassing 8,000 points, before European leaders begin a two-day summit in Brussels.

HeidelbergCement AG (HEI) rose to its highest in more than four years after saying debt declined more than forecast last year. K+S AG (SDF) climbed to its highest price in more than four months after it predicted earnings and sales will rise this year.

The DAX gained 0.8 percent to 8,030.96 at 10:27 a.m. in Frankfurt, its highest level since January 2008. The measure has rallied 5.5 percent this year amid optimism central banks around the world will continue to support economic growth. The broader HDAX Index also rose 0.7 percent today.

“Markets remain obviously in a bullish trend,” Roger Peeters, chief executive officer at Close Brothers Seydler Research in Frankfurt, wrote in an e-mail. “In Germany, it still seems to be only a question of time before we see a new all-time-high on the DAX.”

The volume of shares changing hands on the benchmark index was more than twice the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg show.

European leaders start a two-day Brussels summit today, with euro-area finance ministers meeting separately tomorrow to discuss a bailout for Cyprus. Policy makers may loosen austerity measures as the recession and mounting unemployment in southern Europe overtake the debt crisis as the region’s biggest threat.

U.S. Labor

A U.S. Labor Department report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington may show that initial jobless claims increased to 350,000 in the week ended March 9, from 340,000 the previous period, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

HeidelbergCement climbed 3 percent 56.22 euros, its highest price since November 2008. The company’s debt fell in 2012 more than analysts forecast as improved earnings covered dividends and repayments, bringing it closer to reclaiming investment grade status.

K+S added 3.6 percent to 37.34 euros, its highest price since Oct. 31. Europe’s largest potash maker has “experienced a very decent start into the new business year,” Chief Executive Officer Norbert Steiner said on the company’s website.

Wacker Chemie AG (WCH) slipped 1.4 percent to 62.65 euros. The maker of the main raw material in solar panels forecast earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in 2013 will be less than in previous years because of lower prices for polysilicon and semiconductor wafers.

Hugo Boss AG (BOSS) lost 2.6 percent to 87.99 euros. The German luxury-clothing maker controlled by buyout firm Permira Advisers LLP said it will spend more this year, which it expects to be “challenging.” It forecast operating profit will rise this year after it expanded its store network by a third in 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

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

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