Most German Stocks Slide; Henkel Drops as Deutsche Boerse Climbs

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Most German stocks dropped after the benchmark DAX Index closed yesterday at the highest level since January 2008 even after the country’s export industry expanded.

Metro AG gained 3.7 percent after Deutsche Bank AG said the supermarket group is undervalued compared with its competitors. Linde AG rose 2 percent as Societe Generale SA recommended buying the shares. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG jumped 3.4 percent after reporting a profit in the third quarter. Henkel AG and Adidas AG both lost more than 1 percent as personal and household goods makers retreated across Europe.

The benchmark DAX lost less than 0.1 percent to 7,320.9 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt, having swung between gains and losses at least 20 times today. Three stocks fell for every two that gained. The gauge has rallied 5.9 percent this year amid optimism that the global economic recovery is gathering strength. The broader HDAX Index declined 0.1 percent.

“Market participants are waiting for a consolidation,” said Thomas Nagel, a German equity market strategist and technical analyst, who runs the financial website BoersenSonar. “Most participants are undervalued in stocks and so outside of the market. We still have a solid up trend so there’s no risk that U.S. investors will pay out and run away from Europe.”

A report today showed Germany’s exports climbed for a second month in December. Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, rose 0.5 percent from November, when they also increased 0.5 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists had forecast a gain of 1 percent, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports dropped 2.3 percent from November, when they jumped 4.1 percent.

Metro, Linde, Heidelberger

Metro, Germany’s biggest retailer, increased 3.7 percent to 54.04 euros, the first advance this week. Deutsche Bank reiterated its “buy” recommendation on the stock in a report today.

“We remain confident that consensus estimates will continue to rise to match our above-consensus numbers which place Metro at an unmerited valuation discount to its food and non-food peers,” London-based analysts James Collins and Tom Haywood wrote in a report today.

Linde climbed 2 percent to 110.10 euros as the world’s second-biggest maker of industrial gases was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Societe Generale.

Heidelberger Druck soared 3.4 percent to 3.87 euros. The world’s largest maker of printing presses reported third-quarter net income of 9.36 million euros ($12.8 million), compared with an 11.1 million-euro loss a year earlier.

Deutsche Boerse Climbs

Deutsche Boerse AG increased 1.7 percent to 58.42 euros before trading was suspended this afternoon. The exchange has held advanced talks to buy NYSE Euronext in an all-stock transaction that would create the world’s biggest equity exchange. NYSE and Deutsche Boerse said they will produce 300 million euros ($410 million) in cost savings, according to a statement.

Henkel, the maker of Persil detergent, slid 1.7 percent to 44.38 euros, the first retreat this week. Adidas, the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker, dropped 1.2 percent to 47.40 euros. European personal and household goods shares were among the worst performers of 19 industry groups in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index today, losing 1 percent.

ThyssenKrupp AG, Germany’s biggest steelmaker, climbed 1.3 percent to 31.05 euros. The German Steel Federation said that the country’s crude steel production rose 4.4 percent to 3.7 million metric tons in January.

Sartorius AG’s preferred shares climbed 2.3 percent to 27.10 euros. The maker of laboratory scales and filtering equipment posted fiscal full-year consolidated net income after minority interests of 31 million euros compared with a loss of 7.3 million euros a year earlier.

Gesco AG surged 4.5 percent to 57.70 euros. The German holding company that buys small businesses from owners without heirs forecast group sales of about 334 million euros for the 2010-11 financial year, compared with a previous prediction of 325 million euros.

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