German stocks declined as euro-area finance chiefs met to discuss a bailout for Cyprus amid continuing political uncertainty in Italy and Spain.
Kontron AG slid to its lowest price this year after posting an unexpected annual loss. Carmakers declined, led by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which fell the most in a week. EON SE climbed the most since August, while RWE AG advanced to the highest in more than a week as a gauge of utility companies gained the most among the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
The DAX Index retreated 0.2 percent to 7,633.74 at the close of trading in in Frankfurt. The measure has still increased 0.3 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget to prevent most scheduled tax increases and delay spending cuts that had threatened to push the world’s largest economy into a recession. The broader HDAX Index also lost 0.2 percent today.
“We’re waiting for the outcome of today’s finance minister meeting,” Robert Halver, head of capital markets research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. “To help Cyprus as we did Greece is the only solution that we can have. This is a difficult February. The three main issues are Italy, Spain and the U.S. Nobody is right now willing to buy equities, not knowing the result of the election in Italy. It is the calm before the storm.”
The number of shares changing hands in companies on the DAX was 20 percent less than the average over the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Ministers from the 17-member euro area met in Brussels today to discuss a possible bailout for Cyprus as a tightening election contest in Italy and a political scandal in Spain disrupt market calm. Group of 20 finance chiefs and central bankers will gather in Moscow Feb. 15-16.
Kontron slumped 5.1 percent to 4.08 euros, its lowest price since Dec. 27. The maker of embedded computer boards posted a full-year loss of 32 million euros for 2012. Analysts had forecast earnings before interest and taxes of 980,000 euros.
Carmakers declined, led by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, which dropped 2 percent to 72.07 euros. Daimler AG, the third-biggest luxury-vehicle maker, slid 1.3 percent to 44.99 euros. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, retreated 0.9 percent to 178.90 euros.
EON advanced 3.1 percent to 13.25 euros, its biggest gain since August. Shares rose for a second day following a report that Hungary may pay as much $1.6 billion for the company’s local natural gas unit. RWE added 1.7 percent to 27.83 euros.
Bilfinger SE climbed 2.3 percent to 75.65 euros, its biggest advance since Nov. 19, after the German builder reported full-year adjusted net income of 275 million euros ($368 million). That beat the average analyst estimate of 273 million euros, according to Bloomberg data.
Merck KGaA added 2.1 percent to 99.10 euros. Deutsche Bank AG raised its price forecast for the shares to 118 euros apiece from 113 euros, saying consensus earnings expectations for the maker of the cancer drug Erbitux should continue to rise as the company will probably increase its 2014 forecast.
Wacker Chemie AG, the fourth-biggest producer of polysilicon, jumped 8.8 percent to 60.48 euros, its biggest gain since Dec. 12, after deciding to bring a plant making the material back to full-time work because of growing demand from its solar-power customers.
The Munich-based company, which had put about 700 employees at the facility in Burghausen, Germany, on shorter hours in October, said it is ramping up polysilicon capacity as the solar-cell industry revives. Wacker sold more polysilicon than it expected in January, and production isn’t meeting new order levels, Ewald Schindlbeck, head of the unit, said in a statement.