German stocks advanced, with the benchmark DAX Index still ending with its first annual decline after 2008, as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble ruled out a euro-area breakup.
HeidelbergCement AG followed gains in European construction shares, jumping 2.1 percent. Deutsche Bank AG slid for a third day this week. Commerzbank AG, the worst performer on the gauge in 2011, retreated.
The DAX climbed 0.9 percent to 5,898.35 at the close in Frankfurt. The measure retreated 15 percent this year, the first decline since 2008’s 40 percent plunge. Deutsche Bank AG tumbled 25 percent and Commerzbank sank 70 percent amid speculation that the fiscal crisis will force at least one nation to default on its debt. The broader HDAX Index added 0.8 percent today.
“2011 was the year of missed opportunities, especially political ones,” said Robert Halver, head of research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt. “We have self-made problems and if politicians hadn’t hesitated so much, we would have not experienced this political bad mood. I still hope 2012 will be better than expected.”
Schaeuble ruled out a euro-area breakup and said the region is doing everything to maintain confidence in the euro, according to an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt.
An Oct. 26 agreement to bolster the region’s bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, stalled as Germany and France differed over how to tackle the crisis. France called for using the European Central Bank as a backstop, while Germany rejected it. Chancellor Angela Merkel listed using the ECB as the lender of last resort, issuing joint euro-area bonds and going in for a “snappy debt cut” as unworkable proposals.
HeidelbergCement, the world’s third-largest maker of cement, rose 2.1 percent to 32.79 euros. Construction shares were the best performers in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index today.
Commerzbank gained 1.7 percent to 1.30 euros. EON AG, the country’s largest utility, advanced 1.1 percent to 16.67 euros.
-- Editors: Srinivasan Sivabalan, Andrew Rummer