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German Stocks Rally as DAX Posts Biggest January Gain on Record

German stocks rebounded from two days of losses, completing the best January on record for the benchmark DAX Index, after most European Union nations agreed to abide by a fiscal-discipline treaty.

ThyssenKrupp AG, the country’s largest steelmaker, climbed 2.7 percent after agreeing to sell its Inoxum stainless-steel unit to Outokumpu Oyj. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG advanced as CA Cheuvreux recommended buying the shares.

The DAX rose 0.2 percent to 6,458.91 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The gauge rallied 9.5 percent in January, the biggest jump in the first month of a year since its start in 1988, amid speculation the global economy will withstand the impact of the euro-area debt crisis and as central banks acted to fuel growth. The gauge dropped 15 percent in 2011.

“Developed markets certainly present risks, but to a large extent they may already be discounted,” Ray Mills, manager for international core equity strategy at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, said in an e-mailed report. Europe “continues to host a large number of high-quality companies with demonstrated business models and structural drivers that should be able to sustainably grow earnings and cash flows despite the more challenging environment.”

The broader HDAX Index climbed 0.4 percent today, for a 9.6 percent gain in January.

Greek Debt Talks

The DAX dropped 1 percent yesterday as Greece failed to reach an agreement with bondholders to restructure its debt. EU leaders yesterday completed a fiscal-discipline treaty that speeds sanctions on high-deficit states.

German unemployment dropped more than economists forecast to a two-decade low in January. The number of people out of work fell a seasonally adjusted 34,000 to 2.85 million, the Federal Labor Agency said. That’s the biggest decline since March. Economists had forecast a slide of 10,000, the median of 32 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The adjusted jobless rate slipped to 6.7 percent from 6.8 percent.

Stocks pared gains after a report showed confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly dropped in January.

The Conference Board’s confidence index fell to 61.1 from a revised 64.8 reading in the prior month, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a rise to 68. The figure was lower than the most pessimistic projection.

ThyssenKrupp, BMW

ThyssenKrupp advanced 2.7 percent to 21.67 euros. The transaction with Outokumpu values Inoxum at approximately 2.7 billion euros ($3.6 billion), ThyssenKrupp said. The German steelmaker will maintain a minority stake in the new company.

BMW rose 1.3 percent to 65.39 euros. The world’s largest maker of luxury cars was raised to “outperform” from “underperform” at Cheuvreux.

“BMW’s highly profitable, cash-generative business will likely trigger a strong increase in shareholder returns post crisis,” the French broker wrote in a report yesterday. “A uniquely positioned and growing model portfolio but also huge savings with new model launches form the backbone.”

MAN SE, the truckmaker controlled by Volkswagen AG, gained 1.3 percent to 80.36 euros. Paccar Inc., the U.S. maker of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks, reported fourth-quarter profit and sales that topped analysts’ estimates, boosted by sales in North America.

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