German Stocks Fluctuate as Brenntag Shares Climb, Q-Cells

German stocks advanced for a second day after a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed that U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in March than forecast.

Stada Arzneimittel AG and Merck KGaA rose as health-care shares climbed the most of the 19 industry groups in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Q-Cells SE plunged 41 percent as the solar company filed for insolvency.

The benchmark DAX Index jumped 1.6 percent to 7,056.65 at the close in Frankfurt. The gauge rallied 18 percent in the first quarter, its best start to a year since 1998, amid optimism that the euro area’s leaders would contain their region’s sovereign-debt crisis and as U.S. economic data topped estimates. The broader HDAX Index also rose 1.6 percent today.

“There’s been great hopes that the U.S. will lead the global economic recovery and over the course of several months you have seen the momentum out of the U.S. improving,” said Henk Potts, an equity strategist at Barclays Wealth in London, which oversees $239 billion. “The ISM is seen as further evidence about the speed and strength of the economic recovery there. The brighter macro picture allows investors to once again focus on the strong corporate situation and will be a driver in terms of risk appetite.”

German stocks fell 0.7 percent last week as Standard & Poor’s said that Greece may have to restructure its debt again and a European Central Bank policy maker said that a bigger firewall will not solve the fiscal crisis.

U.S. Manufacturing PMI

In the U.S., the ISM’s factory index climbed to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain to 53.

In Germany, a measure of manufacturing produced a higher-than-estimated reading of 48.4 in March. Economists had predicted a level of 48.1, according to the median estimate compiled by Bloomberg.

A purchasing managers’ index compiled by China’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics rose to 53.1 last month from 51 in February. Economists had predicted a score of 50.8. The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. By contrast, a PMI from HSBC holdings Plc and Markit Economics fell to a four-month low of 48.3, showing that manufacturing contracted and export orders declined.

Stada, Fresenius Medical

Stada Arzneimittel jumped 4.7 percent to 25.78 euros, rising for a fourth day as health-related shares advanced. Merck KGaA added 4.3 percent to 86.55 euros.

Fresenius Medical Care AG gained 2.9 percent to 54.67 euros after completing the sale of 45 dialysis clinics as part of its acquisition of Liberty Dialysis Holdings.

Brenntag, the German seller and distributor of industrial and specialty chemicals, added 2.5 percent to 94.07 euros, gaining for a third day.

Gerresheimer AG increased 3.8 percent to 34.06 euros, following four days of declines. The Dusseldorf-based glassmaker bought a majority stake in India’s Neutral Glass & Allied Industries Pvt Ltd.

SAP AG, the world’s biggest maker of business software, advanced 1.6 percent to 53.21 euros. SAP’s founder, Dietmar Hopp, won’t sell the stakes he or his foundation owns in the company, Euro am Sonntag said, citing an interview with Hopp.

Deutsche Post AG gained 2.7 percent to 14.83 euros after the stock was upgraded to buy from hold at Deutsche Bank AG.

Q-Cells, a German solar-cell maker, plunged 41 percent to 12.6 euro cents, its biggest drop since 2005. The company said in a statement that it will file for insolvency.

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