German stocks dropped for a fourth straight day, the longest losing streak in more than four months, as Libya suspended as much as two thirds of its oil production, sending crude to its highest price in 30 months.
RWE AG, Germany’s second-biggest utility, retreated 5.2 percent after saying profit will fall about 30 percent this year. Porsche SE slumped 11 percent after saying its planned merger with Volkswagen AG will probably be delayed into next year. Henkel AG declined after reporting earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.
The benchmark DAX Index lost 0.9 percent to 7,130.5 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt. The gauge has still advanced 3.1 percent this year amid optimism the global economic recovery is gathering strength. The broader HDAX Index also retreated 0.9 percent today.
“The tsunami of violence sweeping across oil-rich Middle East countries is causing another day of selloff in the markets,” said Anita Paluch, a sales trader at ETX Capital in London. “In the DAX it is particularly affecting companies traditionally dependent on oil supplies.”
The VDAX-NEW Index, which measures the cost of using options as insurance against declines in the DAX, rose to the highest level since Jan. 10 today.
Loyalists of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi sought to crush dissent in the capital, Tripoli, as his opponents tightened their control of eastern cities. The fighting is the most violent yet seen in six weeks of popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, which have already unseated longtime rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.
RWE plummeted 5.2 percent to 49.39 euros, the largest retreat since April. Recurrent net income, which it uses to calculate its dividend, will fall from last year’s 3.75 billion euros ($5.17 billion), the company said. RWE said it plans to sell assets, reduce spending and extend cost cuts to grapple with the slump.
Porsche sank 11 percent to 55 euros, the biggest drop in 18 months. A longer-than-expected probe into allegations of share-price manipulation by two former board members will probably push the merger’s completion into 2012, Porsche said late yesterday. While the probability of success drops as the process drags out, Porsche said the combination will still go ahead. The shares of Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, fell 3 percent to 112.45 euros.
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG led a retreat in European carmakers. The world’s biggest makers of luxury cars lost 2.2 percent to 57 euros and 1.6 percent to 50.49 euros, respectively.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, slid 2.7 percent to 14.53 euros, its fourth straight drop as Brent crude rose above $119 a barrel.
Henkel retreated 3.5 percent to 42.62 euros as the German maker of Loctite glues and Persil detergent reported fourth-quarter profit that missed analysts’ estimates.
Sky Deutschland AG fell 6.9 percent to 2.73 euros. Germany’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to 139.4 million euros from a loss of 114 million euros a year earlier.
Celesio AG jumped 3.2 percent to 19.88 euros as Handelsblatt reported that Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co. is interested in buying a stake in the German drug wholesaler.
Wirecard Bank AG advanced for the first time this week, rising 3.6 percent to 11.67 euros. The maker of electronic-payment and risk-management software and China UnionPay Co. agreed to cooperate in online merchant acquiring services, allowing the German company to tap a growing market for new payment methods.