German Stocks Snap Two-Day Decline as MAN, ThyssenKrupp Advance

German stocks advanced for the first time this week, led by gains in automotive shares and steelmakers, amid speculation the global economy is strong enough to overcome Japan’s nuclear crisis.

MAN SE rallied as JPMorgan Cazenove reiterated its “overweight” stance and increased its price forecast on the stock. ThyssenKrupp AG and Salzgitter AG followed European basic-resource shares higher. Roth & Rau AG declined after saying it will delay a report on its 2010 fiscal year.

The benchmark DAX Index rose 1.8 percent to 7,057.15 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt as every stock in the index climbed. The gauge has gained 8.3 percent since this year’s low on March 16 as investors speculated that Japan will prevent a meltdown at its earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant and the U.S., U.K. and France mounted airstrikes against Muammar Qaddafi’s armed forces in Libya. The broader HDAX Index added 1.7 percent today.

“All the themes from last week like Libya and Japan don’t have as much impact today,” said Andreas Lipkow, an equity trader at MWB Fairtrade Wertpapierhandelsbank AG in Frankfurt. “Investors are looking at companies and there are good buying opportunities among carmakers and truckmakers.”

In Libya, Qaddafi loyalists forced the rebels to halt their advance on Sirte, withdrawing to Bin Jawad and then the oil port of Ras Lanuf, according to Al Jazeera television. Government troops attacked the rebels with artillery and rockets, proving that they retain some military capacity after more than a week of allied bombing runs.

U.S. Employment

In the U.S., companies added more workers in March, a sign the labor market may be strengthening, data from a private report based on payrolls showed today.

MAN climbed 3.3 percent to 87.56 euros as JPMorgan lifted its price estimate on Europe’s third-largest truckmaker to 117 euros from 110 euros, saying the market had yet to price in “MAN-Scania synergies or takeover potential.” Daimler AG, the world’s biggest truckmaker, rose 3.1 percent to 49.84 euros.

Continental AG soared 2.4 percent to 64 euros as Exane BNP Paribas upgraded Europe’s second-biggest car-parts maker to “outperform.”

ThyssenKrupp and Salzgitter, Germany’s largest steelmakers, gained 1.5 percent to 28.88 euros and 1.3 percent to 55.85 euros, respectively.

Freenet AG advanced 2.2 percent to 8.06 euros, ending three days of declines, as DZ Bank AG raised its recommendation on the mobile-phone operator to “buy” from “sell.”

Roth & Rau slipped 4.5 percent to 16.20 euros, the lowest price in a week. The maker of equipment used to produce solar energy generation products said it will push back scheduled press and analyst conferences to April 8 from March 31 because of delays composing the company’s report on the 2010 fiscal year. The stock was cut to “sell” from “buy” at DZ Bank.

Nordex SE lost 9.7 percent to 8.07 euros as the wind turbine maker was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Commerzbank AG.

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