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Most German Stocks Drop; Tognum Jumps as Daimler Plans Purchase

Most German stocks decreased as oil surged oil prices after Libyan rebels fought troops loyal to leader Muammar Qaddafi for control of the town of Sirte, offsetting takeover activity by Daimler AG.

Salzgitter AG sank 1.6 percent after the company reported 2010 sales that fell short of analysts’ projections. Tognum AG jumped 23 percent, the most since its 2007 initial public offering, as Daimler AG said it has held talks to take control of the supplier of power generators through a joint bid with Rolls Royce Group Plc. BASF SE was among the best performers in the DAX, climbing 1.1 percent.

The benchmark DAX Index slid 0.2 percent to 7,161.93 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt as three stocks fell for every one that rose. The gauge has declined 3.6 percent since peaking at a 2 1/2-year high on Feb. 18. The DAX traded at about 14.3 times the reported earnings of its companies, near the lowest level since July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The broader HDAX Index slipped 0.2 percent today.

Oil surged to the highest price in 29 months in New York as Libyan troops loyal to Qaddafi used artillery and helicopter gunships to repel a group of rebels advancing on the town of Sirte. In the west of the country, Qaddafi’s forces renewed their attacks on the rebel-held towns of Misrata and Zawiyah.

In China, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said that the country will stabilize its exports and expand its imports at a faster pace, reducing the size of its trade surplus.

Salzgitter, Gagfah

Salzgitter lost 1.6 percent to 57.97 euros, its lowest price in six weeks. Germany’s second-biggest steelmaker posted full-year revenue of 8.3 billion euros ($11.6 billion), missing the average analyst estimate for 8.4 billion euros of sales.

Gagfah SA slid 3 percent to 7.50 euros after the company said that the city of Dresden is “contemplating taking legal action against certain subsidiaries” of Gagfah.

Tognum, a German manufacturer of diesel engines for ships and tanks, jumped 23 percent to 22.78 euros. Daimler said that it plans to buy a majority stake in Tognum in a joint bid with Rolls-Royce. The German luxury carmaker said it has held “constructive discussions” with Tognum.

BASF, the world’s biggest chemicals maker, advanced 1.1 percent to 61.26 euros. The company will raise prices for butanediol and derivatives in Europe with immediate effect. BASF will raise the price of polytetramethylene ether glycol by 300 euros per metric ton and the price of 1,4 Butanediol by 200 euros per metric ton.

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