German stocks rose, reversing their earlier decline in the final hour of trading, as carmakers climbed, outweighing a report that showed U.S. house sales unexpectedly fell last month.
Volkswagen AG led auto shares higher. Lanxess AG rose after Exane BNP Paribas increased its price estimate for the company and its chief executive officer bought more than 1 million shares. Wincor Nixdorf AG declined.
The DAX rose 0.2 percent to 6,995.62 at the close in Frankfurt, erasing an earlier drop of 1 percent. The benchmark measure still fell 2.3 percent this week amid speculation that the Chinese economy is slowing. The gauge has jumped 19 percent this year as Greece obtained a second bailout from the euro area and U.S. economic reports beat estimates. The broader HDAX Index added 0.3 percent today.
“Markets are getting too optimistic,” Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “The periphery is in a deep recession. It’s going to get worse. And I think, overall, Europe is in a double-dip recession.”
The volume of shares changing hands on the DAX was 22 percent less than the average over the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Germany’s Federal Labor Agency forecast that the country’s average jobless rate will decline to 6.8 percent this year, its lowest since 1992, Bild said, citing a study by the body.
The average number of unemployed will fall by 130,000 to 2.84 million, the Berlin-based newspaper said.
U.S. New Housing
In the U.S., a report showed that new house sales unexpectedly dropped to a 313,000 annual rate in February from a revised 318,000 in January. That fell short of the median estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of 78 economists for sales of 325,000.
Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, added 1,7 percent to 132.35 euros, paring five days of declines, as automobile stocks posted the largest gain of the 19 industry groups in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Daimler AG, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, gained 1.6 percent to 45.49 euros. Porsche SE increased 1.1 percent to 46.04 euros.
Lanxess, a maker of synthetic rubber, climbed 2.7 percent to 62.67 euros. Axel Heitmann, the company’s chief executive officer, bought 1.33 million shares in the company yesterday. Separately, Exane increased its estimate for the share price by 25 percent to 70 euros.
Wacker Chemie, Commerzbank
Wacker Chemie AG, the second-largest maker of solar-grade silicon, jumped 3.6 percent to 71.38 euros. The stock was raised to hold from sell at DZ Bank AG.
Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second-largest lender, increased 3.2 percent to 1.94 euros.
Metro AG, the country’s largest retailer, advanced 1.6 percent to 30 euros as European retail stocks rose.
Wincor Nixdorf, the maker of banking machines and cash registers, dropped 2.5 percent to 38.54 euros.
Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering company, fell 0.7 percent to 77.36 euros. The company said it will increase spending on research and development this year.