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German Stocks Decline as U.S. Retail Sales Miss Forecasts

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- German stocks declined, erasing earlier gains, as U.S. retail sales rose less than forecast, offsetting an increase in investor confidence in Europe’s largest economy, which rose to a 10-month high.

ThyssenKrupp, Germany’s largest steelmaker, dropped 3.8 percent after reporting a first-quarter loss as project delays and cost overruns in Brazil and the U.S. dented earnings. Deutsche Boerse AG climbed 2.4 percent as it pledged to return capital to shareholders after posting a fourth-quarter profit.

The DAX Index fell 10.28, or 0.2 percent, to 6,728.19 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt, reversing earlier gains of as much as 0.7 percent. The gauge has jumped 14 percent this year amid speculation the global economy will withstand the impact of the euro area’s debt crisis and as central banks acted to fuel growth. The broader HDAX Index retreated 0.3 percent today.

“Markets have stayed lower today as Moody’s latest announcement, putting the U.K., France and Austria on negative outlook, along with worse-than-expected retail sales in the U.S. has shoved any rally off the table for today,” said Simon Furlong, a trader at SpreadEx Ltd. in St. Albans, England.

In the U.S., retail sales rose in January by 0.4 percent as Americans took advantage of post-holiday discounts, showing households are being frugal in their spending, Commerce Department figures showed today. Last month’s advance was half the 0.8 percent median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, reflecting an unexpected drop at auto dealers. Excluding cars, demand climbed 0.7 percent, more than projected.

German Confidence

Germany’s ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, rose to 5.4 in February from minus 21.6 in January. That’s the highest since April 2011. Economists forecast a gain to minus 11.8, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

ThyssenKrupp dropped 3.8 percent to 21.07 euros after reporting a loss before interest and taxes of 33 million euros, compared with a profit of 261 million euros a year earlier.

Deutsche Boerse jumped 2.4 percent to 49.94 euros after the German bourse operator posted a fourth-quarter profit amid lower costs and higher sales while announcing a stock buyback and dividend.

MAN SE gained 0.7 percent to 82.92 euros. The outlook for 2012 is “strong,” even as the German truckmaker controlled by Volkswagen AG said sales and operating profit will decline this year, according to analysts at WestLB.

Carl Zeiss Meditec AG surged 7.3 percent to 17.59 euros, the highest price since May 2007, as the maker of medical lasers and surgery products reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in London at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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