German stocks declined, following a two-day advance, as Fresenius Medical Care AG plunged after forecasting profit that fell short of analysts’ estimates.
Fresenius Medical Care sank the most since July, while Fresenius SE, which owns a stake in the world’s biggest provider of kidney dialysis, slid 4.2 percent. Beiersdorf AG (BEI) added 1.4 percent after Berenberg Bank recommended that investors buy the owner of Nivea skin cream.
The DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 9,699.35 at the close of trading in Frankfurt after earlier dropping as much as 0.8 percent. The benchmark has still climbed 6.4 percent from its low on Feb. 5 as a report showed Chinese imports surged in January. Germany has the largest current-account surplus with China of any European country, according to the International Monetary Fund. The broader HDAX Index fell 0.1 percent today.
“Earnings estimates still show a need to revise downwards,” Ralf Zimmermann, an equity analyst at Bankhaus Lampe KG, said in a phone interview. “There are no real fresh macro drivers and overall the picture out of the reporting season is a mixed one.”
A release from the Federal Statistics Office today showed that gross domestic product expanded 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. That confirmed the agency’s estimate on Feb. 14.
In the U.S., a report showed that the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property prices in 20 cities climbed 13.4 percent in the 12 months through December, matching the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. Prices rose 13.7 percent in the year that ended in November.
The Conference Board said its measure of consumer confidence slipped to 78.1 in February from a revised 79.4 in January. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists had called for a reading of 80.
Fresenius Medical Care slid 5.7 percent to 49.82 euros. The company, which treats chronic kidney failure, forecast net income of $1 billion to $1.05 billion this year, less than the $1.18 billion that analysts had estimated. It also reported earnings before interest and taxes of $2.26 billion for 2013. Analysts had predicted Ebit of $2.27 billion.
Fresenius dropped 4.2 percent to 114.05 euros. The owner of a 31 percent stake in Fresenius Medical Care posted revenue of 20.3 billion euros ($28 billion) in 2013, compared with the 20.4 billion-euro average estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
Duerr AG (DUE) lost 5.7 percent to 57.96 euros. The maker of robots that paint cars said it expects sales of 2.4 billion euros to 2.5 billion euros in 2014, less than the average analyst estimate of 2.58 billion euros. The company also said incoming orders fell 8.1 percent to 2.39 billion euros in 2013.
Aixtron SE, which produces equipment for the semiconductor industry, sank 6.8 percent to 11.59 euros after saying that it will probably fail to increase its revenue in 2014. It also reported fourth-quarter sales of 51.1 million euros, missing the 53.4 million euros projected by analysts.
Beiersdorf advanced 1.4 percent to 74.63 euros after Berenberg upgraded the company to buy from hold. The brokerage said that Beiersdorf’s repositioning of Nivea will increase the company’s sales and margins. Berenberg also raised its price forecast on the shares to 85 euros from 72 euros.
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