German stocks fell from a two-week high as a gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment missed forecasts, offsetting a report showing economic growth in China accelerated for the first time in two years.
ThyssenKrupp dropped 1.8 percent as investors called for Chairman Gerhard Cromme to resign. Daimler AG retreated 1.2 percent, following a gauge of European carmakers lower. Aixtron SE, a technology company that manufactures equipment for the semiconductor industry, gained 2.4 percent. Commerzbank AG posted the best performance on the benchmark DAX Index.
The DAX declined 0.4 percent to 7,702.23 at the close of trading in Frankfurt, for a 0.2 percent weekly drop. The gauge has added 1.2 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget to prevent most scheduled tax increases and delay spending cuts. The HDAX Index lost 0.3 percent today.
“The positive economic data out of China today didn’t help to keep the market in the green,” Guillermo Hernandez, head of trading at Fpm Frankfurt Performance Mgmt AG, who helps manage about 500 million euros ($664 million), wrote in a message. “The disappointing U.S. consumer confidence figures were not surprising, with the ongoing debate in Washington; with the possibility of rising taxes, for sure there is fear for some consumers.”
The volume of shares changing hands on the DAX was 3.9 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Consumer confidence in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in January to a one-year low. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary January consumer sentiment index decreased to 71.3 from 72.9 the prior month. The gauge was projected to climb to 75, according to the median forecast of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Growth in China accelerated as government efforts to revive demand drove a rebound in industrial output and retail sales.
Gross domestic product rose 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in Beijing today. That compared with the 7.8 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey and 7.4 percent in the previous period. Industrial output in December rose a more-than-expected 10.3 percent and fixed-asset investment for the year gained 20.6 percent.
ThyssenKrupp declined 1.8 percent to 18.07 euros. Cromme faces calls to resign at the steelmaker’s annual general meeting today, after a year tainted by corruption probes and a 4.7 billion-euro loss.
ThyssenKrupp is under attack from investors as Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger attempts to repair the damage from price-fixing and bribery scandals and a botched expansion in the Americas that cost it 3.6 billion euros in writedowns in the last fiscal year.
Daimler, the world’s third-largest maker of luxury vehicles, lost 1.2 percent to 43.35 euros as a gauge of carmakers was among the worst performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Metro AG, Germany’s largest retailer, retreated 1.4 percent to 23.16 euros as Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to underperform, the equivalent of a sell rating, from neutral, citing the need for further investment in its home market.
Aixtron gained 2.4 percent to 10.56 euros, its highest level in more than three months. The stock has surged 18 percent so far this year.
Japanese semiconductor-equipment makers also rallied after Intel Corp., the world’s biggest chipmaker, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., the largest producer of contract producer chips, announced plans to raise capital spending this year.
Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest lender, climbed 1.8 percent to 1.69 euros.
Xing AG, the German professional networking provider, rose 2.3 percent to 40.53 euros, as M.M. Warburg & Co. upgraded the shares to hold from sell.