April 2 (Bloomberg) -- German stocks advanced the most in four weeks as reports showed euro-area manufacturing contracted less that estimated last month and U.S. factory orders increased in February.
EON SE rallied to a 11-week high after HSBC Holdings Plc raised its rating on Germany’s biggest utility. Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering company, rebounded from a five-day decline. Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, rallied the most in eight months to a 10-year high.
The DAX climbed 1.9 percent to 7,943.87 at the close of trading in Frankfurt, the largest gain since March 5. The benchmark has advanced 4.4 percent this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a budget and optimism grew that central banks around the world will continue stimulus measures to support the economic recovery. The broader HDAX Index also added 1.9 percent today. Western European markets were closed yesterday and March 29 for the Easter holiday.
“It’s clear that the global economy bottomed some time towards the end of last year,” Joachim Fels, head of global economics at Morgan Stanley in London, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television with Guy Johnson. “We’re still in the twilight zone for global growth; it’s neither a recession nor is it a strong recovery. Conditions in the U.S. are now in place for a vigorous recovery in the second half of this year.”
The volume of trades on DAX-listed companies was 19 percent less than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A gauge of manufacturing in the 17-nation euro bloc declined to 46.8 last month from 47.9 in February, London-based Markit Economics said today, compared to an initial estimate of 46.6. Figures lower than 50 signal a contraction.
Manufacturing in Germany also contracted less than forecast in March, final figures from Markit showed. A gauge of activity slipped to 49 from 50.3 in February, which was the highest reading in 13 months. A previous estimate called for a reading of 48.9.
U.S. factory orders rose 3 percent in February after a revised 1 percent drop the previous month, Commerce Department data showed. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists had called for a 2.9 percent gain.
EON advanced 3.5 percent to 14.10 euros, the highest since Jan. 14. HSBC upgraded its recommendation on the stock to neutral from underweight, citing the company’s increasing exposure to growing businesses outside the European Union.
RWE AG, Germany’s second-biggest utility, gained 2.1 percent to 29.67 euros. A gauge of European utilities climbed the most in five weeks, erasing this year’s retreat.
Siemens, the biggest stock on the DAX by weighting, added 2.2 percent to 85.87 euros, rebounding from its first weekly decline in seven weeks.
Munich Re rose 4.5 percent to 152.45 euros, the highest level since September 2002. A gauge of insurers climbed 2.4 percent for the biggest gain among the 19 industries in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Bayer AG increased 2.3 percent to 82.29 euros, extending its highest price in more than 20 years. Germany’s largest drugmaker sold its nano-silver ink technology, used to print circuit boards and solar panels, to Clariant AG, according to a statement from the Swiss chemical maker.
Symrise AG, the flavors and fragrance supplier, rallied 3.6 percent to 32.01 euros, the highest price on record.
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