German stocks fell as shares in China retreated on the resumption of trading after a weeklong holiday, and euro-area finance ministers met to discuss the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.
Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, Germany’s two biggest lenders, lost at least 2.5 percent. Daimler AG sank 2.6 percent as a gauge of automakers was the worst performer of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Evotec AG rose 1.4 percent after it reached a pre-clinical milestone in its collaboration with Novartis AG.
The DAX Index tumbled 1.4 percent to 7,291.21 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The measures has still rallied 22 percent from this year’s low on June 5 as European Central Bank policy makers approved an unlimited bond-buying program and the U.S. Federal Reserve started a third round of asset purchases. The broader HDAX Index also lost 1.4 percent today.
“Whenever China goes down, German carmakers go down as well because China is one of the most important markets,” said Markus Huber, head of German sales trading at ETX Capital in London. “The DAX is following markets in Asia and the U.S. downwards. In Spain, things are still going back and forth regarding the terms and conditions of aid and until that uncertainty goes it is hanging over the markets and needs to be dealt with.”
The volume of shares changing hands on the DAX was 25 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.6 percent today amid concern the deepening economic slowdown will hurt profits and as money-market rates rose the most in a month.
Growth in developing East Asia, which excludes Japan and India, will probably ease to 7.2 percent from 8.3 percent in 2011, the World Bank said in a report today. That is the slowest pace since 2001, according to data from the Washington-based lender, and lower than a forecast in May of 7.6 percent.
European finance ministers met in Luxembourg at 5 p.m. today to discuss issues including Spain’s overhaul effort and closer banking cooperation. Tomorrow, German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes her first visit to Greece since the turmoil began in 2009. The next day, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy travels for talks with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. EU leaders gather for a summit in Brussels on Oct. 18-19.
German exports unexpectedly rose for a second month in August, indicating Europe’s largest economy is weathering the sovereign debt crisis.
Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, jumped 2.4 percent from July, when they gained 0.4 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said today. Economists forecast a 0.6 percent decline, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports rose 0.3 percent from July.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank fell 2.5 percent to 32.01 euros and 3 percent to 1.41 euros, respectively.
Daimler, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury vehicles, dropped 2.6 percent to 38.28 euros. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the largest maker of luxury vehicles, lost 1.5 percent to 60.05 euros.
Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker dropped 2.2 percent to 145.35 euros after Audi, the company’s main premium brand, reported slower sales growth in September as car markets in southern Europe contracted.
Audi’s global sales rose 14 percent from a year earlier to 136,600 cars and sport-utility vehicles, the Ingolstadt, Germany-based company said today in a statement. That compares with a 15 percent increase in August. In Europe, where the industrywide sales are shrinking, Audi sold 7.4 percent more cars last month, held back by drops in Italy and Spain.
Axel Springer AG, the media company, declined 4 percent to 33.14 euros as HSBC Holdings Plc. cut its recommendation on the stock to underweight from overweight, meaning investors should sell the shares, and reduced its price forecast to 30 euros from 44 euros.
Metro AG, Germany’s largest retailer, slipped 3 percent to 20.82 euros as Exane BNP Paribas downgraded the shares to underperform, the equivalent of sell, from outperform. UBS AG cut its forecast price on the stock to 20.5 euros from 23 euros.
Evotec, which offers drug research, development and manufacturing services, advanced 1.4 percent to 2.95 euros. The company said today it reached a pre-clinical milestone in its collaboration with Novartis, without giving financial details. Evotec is eligible for pre-clinical and clinical milestone payments that could exceed $28 million under the terms of the agreement.
BayWa AG, a German agricultural products and building-materials maker, rose 5.6 percent, the most in a year, to 33.43 euros.