German Stocks Are Little Changed as ECB Considers QE

German stocks were little changed, after a two-day gain, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policy makers could turn to asset purchases to combat persistent low inflation in the euro area.

Fresenius Medical Care AG climbed 3.4 percent after the health-care company forecast sales of $28 billion in 2020. Jenoptik AG (JEN) slid the most in a month after major shareholders sold a stake in the optoelectronics supplier.

The DAX Index (DAX) added less than 0.1 percent to 9,628.82 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The benchmark gauge slid 1.4 percent in March as Russia’s annexation of Crimea prompted concern that tit-for-tat sanctions would disrupt trade. The broader HDAX Index also rose less than 0.1 percent today.

“It is amazing that the ECB has been able to stabilize the European crisis with just strong language and without using any bullets in its toolbox,” Ion-Marc Valahu, a co-founder and fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva, wrote in an e-mail.

Draghi said that the central bank discussed quantitative easing at today’s monthly meeting.

“The Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using also unconventional instruments within its mandate in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation,” he said.

The ECB left its interest rate at a record low of 0.25 percent as predicted by all but three of 57 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. One had forecast a cut to 0.1 percent, while two had called for a reduction to 0.15 percent.

Services Activity

Germany’s services sector slowed in March, according to Markit Economics Ltd. The purchasing managers’ index fell to 53 from 55.9 in February. Economists had forecast a reading of 54.

In the U.S., a gauge of activity in the services sector rose to 53.1 in March from 51.6 a month earlier, the Institute for Supply Management said. That missed the the median economist estimate for a reading of 53.5.

Fresenius Medical Care climbed 3.4 percent to 52.18 euros after the provider of dialysis to people with chronic kidney failure predicted sales of $28 billion in 2020. The company’s chief executive officer also forecast that 62 percent of sales will come from services by then.

Jenoptik retreated 4.7 percent to 12.46 euros. MEAG Munich Ergo Asset Management GmbH, Munich Re’s investment arm, and ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG, Munich Re’s primary insurer, sold a combined 8.5 percent stake in the company, according to terms obtained by Bloomberg News.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) fell 1.1 percent to 32.95 euros. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Germany’s largest lender to neutral from overweight, meaning that investors should stop buying the shares. The brokerage reduced its forecast for Deutsche Bank’s core equity tier one ratio under the Basel III financial-strength rules to 9.2 percent from 9.8 percent.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net Will Hadfield, Alan Soughley

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