German Stocks Are Little Changed After U.S. Retail Sales

Sept. 13 (Bloomberg) -- German stocks were little changed, with the benchmark gauge posting its second weekly gain, as U.S. retail sales rose in August less than forecast, while America and Russia held talks on Syria.

Fresenius SE added 3.6 percent after the health-care company’s Helios unit agreed to pay Rhoen-Klinikum AG 3.07 billion euros ($4.07 billion) for 43 hospitals. Rhoen-Klinikum surged 11 percent. Suedzucker AG fell 2.6 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc added the stock to its conviction-sell list.

The DAX Index rose 0.2 percent to 8,509.42 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The gauge gained 2.8 percent this week amid better-than-expected economic data from China and as U.S. President Barack Obama delayed a decision on military action against Syria. The broader HDAX Index also advanced 0.2 percent.

“We don’t have massive selling pressure,” Christoph Hock, an equity sales trader at Alpha Wertpapierhandels GmbH in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. “It is quite a dull day after a 400 point rally over the last two weeks. I think with all the events coming up, investors are turning to the cautious side.”

The 0.2 percent increase in U.S. retail sales was the smallest in four months and followed a revised 0.4 percent July gain that was bigger than previously estimated, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.5 percent advance. Sales excluding motor vehicles rose 0.1 percent.

The retail report is one of the last pieces of data before next week’s Federal Reserve meeting on Sept. 17-18 as policy makers consider whether to pare monetary stimulus. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said that the central bank may consider tapering if the economy grows in line with its forecasts.

Syria Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reported a “constructive” start to talks with Russia over Syria’s chemical weapons, while giving no sign of a breakthrough.

“We would both agree that we had constructive conversations regarding that, but those conversations are continuing,” Kerry said in Geneva today after initial meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Obstacles included a U.S. refusal to take military options off the table, a Russian official said under condition of anonymity. The U.S. has also demanded that Syria be held to tight timelines in putting its chemical warfare agents under international control.

Fresenius Deal

Fresenius and Rhoen-Klinikum advanced 3.6 percent to 91.10 euros and 11 percent to 19.45 euros, respectively. The boards of both German companies endorsed the deal for Fresenius’s Helios unit to buy 43 hospitals from Rhoen-Klinikum. The purchase requires regulatory approval and the support of minority shareholders or former owners of certain hospitals.

Fresenius said that the deal will add about 2 billion euros in annual revenue and 250 million euros in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Kabel Deutschland Holding AG gained 6.3 percent to 91.82 euros, its highest price since at least March 2010. Vodafone Group Plc’s 7.7 billion-euro bid for the company won the backing of at least 75 percent of the German company’s shareholders.

Suedzucker, which makes sugar, starch and bakery additives, dropped 2.6 percent to 22.11 euros as Goldman added the stock to its conviction sell list, citing further declines in European sugar prices.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net