German Stocks Advance; Volkswagen Gains, Banks Decline

German stocks rose after the DAX Index’s longest stretch of weekly losses since August, with gains in automakers offsetting losses in bank stocks.

Volkswagen AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG rose. BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company, advanced after HSBC raised its recommendation on the stock, while Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG retreated.

The DAX Index climbed 0.6 percent to 6,625.19 at the close in Frankfurt after earlier swinging from gains to losses at least six times. The benchmark gauge has gained 12 percent so far this year as the euro area’s leaders took measures to contain the sovereign-debt crisis and as U.S. economic reports exceeded estimates. The broader HDAX Index added 0.6 percent today.

“Investors recently locked in profits and now are reinvesting,” said Arnaud Scarpaci of Agilis Gestion SA in Paris, which oversees about $84 million. “The auto sector has a lot of visibility and is one of the first industries to recover in a market rebound. There still is concern about Spanish bonds and that can continue to weigh on the market.”

Spain’s 10-year yield advanced to 6.07 percent at 4:02 p.m. London time. It earlier reached 6.16 percent, the most since Dec. 1. Spain will sell 2014 bonds with a 3.3 percent coupon and 2022 bonds with 5.85 percent coupon on Thursday.

European and U.S. equities sank on April 13 after Spanish benchmark yields edged toward 6 percent, reigniting concern that the euro area’s debt crisis will worsen. China also reported economic growth the same day that slowed more than forecast.

U.S. Retail Sales

Stocks extended gains today after a report showed U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast in March. The 0.8 percent gain exceeded the 0.3 percent advance projected in a Bloomberg survey and followed a revised 1 percent increase in February, Commerce Department figures showed.

A gauge of automobile shares rose 1.2 percent for the second-biggest increase among the 19 groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, advanced 1.7 percent to 131 euros. BMW, the world’s largest luxury automaker, climbed 1.8 percent to 68.71 euros, while Daimler AG rose 1.4 percent to 40.85 euros.

BASF added 2 percent to 62.86 euros. The stock was raised to overweight, the equivalent of a buy rating, from neutral at HSBC Holdings Plc.

Henkel AG, the maker of Loctite glue, climbed 1.8 percent to 55.73 euros. The company made a “good start” to 2012, Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted said at the annual shareholders meeting today.

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, slipped 0.6 percent to 33.84 euros. Commerzbank, the second largest, slid 3.6 percent to 1.58 euros.

Dialog Semiconductor Plc lost 1.6 percent to 17.65 euros. The stock was cut to hold from buy at Hauck & Aufhaeuser.