German Stocks Drop Before U.S. Jobs Data; Lufthansa Falls

German stocks declined as investors awaited a monthly report on American payrolls to gauge the strength of the world’s biggest economy.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) slumped to its lowest price in two months amid concern the outbreak of a new strain of bird flu in China will hurt travel demand. EON SE and RWE AG (RWE) climbed at least 1 percent as a gauge of utilities companies rose the most among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. (SXXP)

The DAX lost 0.2 percent to 7,800.06 at 9:51 a.m. in Frankfurt, heading for a weekly gain of 0.1 percent. The equity benchmark has still advanced 2.5 percent this year amid speculation that central banks will maintain their stimulus measures. The broader HDAX Index lost 0.3 percent today.

“There is a lot of noise around the payroll figures,” Peter Garnry, an equity strategist at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, wrote in an e-mail. “We are close to all-time highs in the DAX (DAX) and the stock market has discounted an improvement in global economic activity. Investors need the hard data to come in to fuel this rally.”

The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the DAX was 36 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Today’s non-farm payrolls report may show U.S. employers hired a net 190,000 workers last month and the unemployment rate held at a four-year low of 7.7 percent as demand improved at the start of the year, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg survey. That compares with an increase of 236,000 in February.

Bird Flu

Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, slid 4.1 percent to 14.31 euros. The death toll from a new strain of bird flu in China, known as H7N9, rose to six people as authorities in Shanghai shut several poultry markets and culled birds.

EON and RWE, Germany’s two biggest utility companies, advanced 1.1 percent to 14.21 euros, and 1.1 percent to 29.32 euros, respectively.

Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, added 2.9 percent to 153.30 euros. HSBC Holdings Plc upgraded the stock to overweight from underweight, citing the likelihood of a 10 billion euro cash-return program, including dividends, over the next three years, and strong performances in the company’s property, and casualty and life operations this year.

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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