German stocks rose, capping the first weekly increase of the year, after a report showed that the U.S. jobless rate fell to the lowest since October 2008.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) soared the most since November 2008, posting the biggest increase in the DAX Index, after saying fuel and unit costs will fall this year. Metro AG (MEO) advanced 2.8 percent after a report that said its biggest shareholder may push for a breakup of the retailer. The report was denied. SMA Solar Technology AG (S92) rallied 14 percent after Deutsche Bank AG recommended buying the shares. Brenntag AG (BNR) dropped 2.4 percent after UBS AG lowered its stock rating.
The DAX climbed 0.6 percent to 9,473.24 at the close of trading in Frankfurt, bringing the weekly gain to 0.4 percent. The broader HDAX Index added 0.6 percent today.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent, compared with the median economist forecast of 7 percent. Payrolls in December increased 74,000, the slowest pace since January 2011 and below the most pessimistic projection in a Bloomberg survey. More than a quarter million Americans were not at work because of inclement weather, the Labor Department said. That was the most for any December since 1977.
Lufthansa gained 8.9 percent to 17.35 euros. Fuel costs may drop to 6.9 billion euros ($9.4 billion) this year, 200 million euros below the estimate for 2013, the company said on its website. A measure of costs per passenger will fall about 2 percent, with a larger decline expected in 2015.
Metro advanced 2.8 percent to 34.95 euros. Investor newsletter Platow Brief said that Franz Haniel & Cie, Metro’s biggest shareholder, would push for the retailer to sell its Real, Kaufhof or Media-Saturn units. Haniel spokesman Dietmar Bochert called the report “outrageous nonsense,” while a Metro official declined to comment.
SMA Solar rallied 14 percent to 29.42 euros. Deutsche Bank upgraded the solar-energy company to buy from hold, saying recent share declines are a buying opportunity. The stock fell 34 percent from its October high to its low in December.
Brenntag, the world’s largest distributor of chemicals, declined 2.4 percent to 126.7 euros. UBS lowered its rating to neutral from buy, citing limited potential for gains as growth is unlikely to accelerate.
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