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German Stocks Advance on U.S. Housing Data, BOJ Stimulus

German stocks rose for the first time in three days as construction of new U.S. homes increased and the Bank of Japan boosted its asset-purchase target.

Commerzbank AG climbed 2 percent as Boersen-Zeitung said the bank may cut jobs. Deutsche Bank AG gained 1.5 percent. Volkswagen AG increased 1.6 percent as Asahi Shimbun reported that the carmaker aims to sell 110,000 vehicles a year in Japan by 2018.

The DAX Index gained 0.6 percent to 7,390.76 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The equity benchmark has rallied 24 percent from this year’s low on June 5 as European Central Bank policy makers approved a bond-buying program and the Fed started a third round of asset purchases. The broader HDAX Index added 0.5 percent today.

“The housing market in the U.S. is finally in a recovery mode, with better numbers coming in over the last five months,” said Ion-Marc Valahu, co-founder and fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva. “We still have bank and insurers leading the up move as investors are moving away from the defensive sector.”

In the U.S., new housing construction climbed 2.3 percent to a 750,000 annual rate in August from a revised 733,000 pace in July, according to Commerce Department figures. Separate data showed sales of existing homes rose more than forecast in August to a 4.82 million annual rate, the highest in two years.

BOJ Stimulus

The Bank of Japan unexpectedly expanded its asset-purchase fund by 10 trillion yen ($126 billion), seeking to counter an increasing danger of contraction in the world’s third-largest economy. The BOJ’s program, in which it buys mainly government bonds, was enlarged to 55 trillion yen in a unanimous decision by the board, the bank said today. A separate fund that extends credit to banks was held at 25 trillion yen.

The number of shares changing hands in DAX-listed companies today was 14 percent greater than the 30-day average, according to Bloomberg data.

Commerzbank added 2 percent to 1.62 euros. Germany’s second-biggest bank may cut jobs, according to a Boersen-Zeitung report, which cited unidentified people in the financial industry. The newspaper said a spokesman for Commerzbank declined to comment. Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, gained 1.5 percent to 32.90 euros.

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker, climbed 1.6 percent to 150.50 euros. The company plans to sell 110,000 vehicles a year in Japan by 2018, more than double its 2011 sales of 50,000 units, according to a report in Asahi Shimbun.

Evotec AG, which offers drug research, development and manufacturing services, advanced 6.9 percent to 2.67 euros, the biggest gain in two months. The company won a 10-year, 60 million-euro ($78 million) contract, from the National Institute of Health to run a small molecule repository.

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