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German Stocks Advance; HeidelbergCement, Pfeiffer Vacuum Rise

German stocks rallied, with the DAX Index extending a two-year high, after a better-than-forecast U.S. payrolls report boosted optimism about the strength of the economic recovery.

HeidelbergCement AG advanced as Ludwig Merckle increased his stake in the world’s third-largest maker of cement and concrete. Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG surged 2.9 percent as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying the shares. Singulus Technologies AG slumped after forecasting an operating loss.

The DAX gained 0.3 percent to 6,754.20 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt, its highest close since June, 2008. The gauge has increased 2.3 percent this week as the Federal Reserve announced an additional $600 billion of bond purchases to bolster the world’s largest economy. The broader HDAX Index also rose 0.2 percent today.

“The Fed signaled, after already announcing $600 billion of bond purchases, that it’s ready to help the economy further if needed,” said Steffen Neumann, a strategist at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg in Mainz. “The Fed is on the side of equity markets and the general positive trend is still intact, even if the market won’t keep rising at this speed. 2011 won’t be such a bad year.”

U.S. Payrolls

Payrolls climbed 151,000, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists and following a revised 41,000 drop in September that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Private payrolls that exclude government agencies also gained more than forecast, while the jobless rate held at 9.6 percent.

HeidelbergCement AG surged 2.2 percent to 41.86 euros, extending yesterday’s 8.9 percent jump. The cement maker said Ludwig Merckle’s share of the company’s voting rights crossed the 25 percent threshold, taking his stake to 25.11 percent as of Nov. 4, 2010. A separate company statement quoted Merckle saying he has no intention of obtaining further voting rights “by acquisition or by any other means” within the next 12 months.

BASF SE gained 1.8 percent to 57.17 euros, the highest price on record. The world’s biggest chemical company was raised to “buy” from “hold” at M.M.Warburg & Co. KGaA.

Pfeiffer Vacuum jumped 2.9 percent to 81.80 euros as Goldman Sachs raised its recommendation on the vacuum pump maker to “buy” from “neutral.”

ThyssenKrupp, Praktiker

ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s largest steelmaker, gained 1.1 percent to 27.31 euros. European basic-resource shares posted the best performance among 19 industry groups in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Praktiker AG, Germany’s second-biggest home-improvement retailer, surged 5.6 percent to 7.06 euros on speculation that Home Depot Inc. may make an offer.

“Praktiker reached a three-week high and could rise further amid a rumor that Home Depot is interested in the stock,” said Thomas Nagel, a German equity market strategist and technical analyst, who publishes the BoersenSonar weekly newsletter. “This rumor has already been out in the market before but the stock is still reacting strongly on it.”

Kathleen Draeger, a spokeswoman for Praktiker, said the company doesn’t comment on market speculation. Home Depot doesn’t comment on speculation, Ron DeFeo, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based retailer, said by telephone.

Singulus Technologies sank 2.1 percent to 3.53 euros, ending the longest winning streak since June. The maker of machines that produce compact discs and DVDs won’t achieve its sales target for the year after revenue in the first nine months fell to 81 million euros and order intake was “insufficient.” The German company also expects to report an operating loss.

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