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German Stocks Rise to Three-Year High; BASF, ThyssenKrupp Gain

German stocks advanced, sending the DAX Index to its highest level in three years, as the Japanese economy shrank less than forecast, spurring speculation that the global recovery will continue.

BASF SE, the world’s biggest chemical company, rose after Citigroup Inc. named it among the most preferred shares. ThyssenKrupp AG rose with metal prices. Roth & Rau AG surged as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying the shares.

The benchmark DAX gained 0.3 percent to 7,396.63 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt. The gauge has rallied 7 percent this year, reaching the highest level since January 2008, amid optimism that the global economic recovery is gathering strength. The broader HDAX Index advanced 0.4 percent today.

While Japan’s economy shrank for the first time in five quarters, the 1.1 percent contraction beat economists’ estimates for gross domestic product to drop 2 percent. Overseas demand may revive production, making the decrease in the size of the economy temporary as world trade improves.

European stocks recovered their losses on Feb. 11 as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and handed power to the military, bowing to the demands of protesters who have occupied Tahrir Square in central Cairo for the past few weeks.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces yesterday dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution and said it would rule until general elections take place.

Next Step

“Friday’s news from Egypt served up the catalyst to push what was already a relatively solid market to take the next step forward,” Cameron Peacock, a market analyst IG Markets in Melbourne, wrote in a note. “The news is continuing to buoy sentiment in equity markets globally.”

BASF rose 2.5 percent to 59.49 euros, the highest price in more than a month. Citigroup included the stock among its most preferred shares.

ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s biggest steelmaker, added 1 percent to 30.60 euros. Copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc all rose on the London Metal Exchange today.

Roth & Rau surged 7.1 percent to 17.08 euros, the highest price since October. The stock was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs.

The following stocks rose or fell in Frankfurt. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG (CTN GY) jumped 6.1 percent to 34.60 euros, the highest price since August. The German solar-equipment maker may increase sales by as much as 15 percent this year after beating profit and revenue goals in 2010, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Robert Hartung.

Gerresheimer AG (GXI GY) surged 3.4 percent to 31.53 euros after the maker of medical packaging was raised to “accumulate” from “hold” at Equinet AG.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (HDD GY) slipped 2.4 percent to 3.73 euros as the maker of printing presses was cut to “add” from “buy” at Commerzbank AG.

Hochtief AG (HOT GY) rose 3.1 percent to 68.43 euros, a seventh day of gains for the longest winning streak in five months. The German company that controls Australia’s biggest builder Leighton Holdings Ltd. forecast profit for the 2010 fiscal year to be “well above” a year earlier because of strength in nearly all its divisions and a strong Australian dollar.

MTU Aero Engines Holding AG (MTX GY) climbed 2 percent to 52.37 euros. The company will earn about 12 billion euros in revenue over the next 15 years out of a grop the German company is a partner in to build parts for the Airbus SAS A320, Capital reported, citing an interview with Chief Executive Officer Egon Behle.

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