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German Stocks Little Changed After Three-Week Advance

German stocks were little changed, after the benchmark DAX Index completed a three-week rally, as investors weighed U.S. data to help gauge the strength of the recovery in the world’s largest economy.

ThyssenKrupp AG lost 3.6 percent after a report that the steelmaker may not be able to sell its plant in Brazil. Evotec AG climbed to its highest price since February 2007 after saying it reached its first targets in a drug-research project with partner UCB SA. RWE AG and EON SE advanced as JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its rating on European utilities.

The DAX dropped 0.1 percent to 8,978.65 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The benchmark gauge has still climbed 4.5 percent in October as U.S. lawmakers agreed to lift the federal debt ceiling and investors speculated that a worse-than-forecast payrolls report would delay a reduction in the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program. The broader HDAX Index lost 0.1 percent today.

“The markets can come to terms with tapering, it’s just that the economy is weak,” Alan Higgins, U.K. chief investment officer for Coutts & Co. in London, told Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television today. “We’re in the more dovish, low inflation camp.”

U.S. data today showed industrial production increased 0.6 percent in September, beating the 0.4 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Homes Sales

A separate report showed fewer Americans than forecast signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in September, the fourth straight month of declines. The index of pending home sales slumped 5.6 percent, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the biggest drop in more than three years, after a 1.6 percent decrease in August, the National Association of Realtors reported today in Washington.

Members of the Federal Open Market Committee begin a two-day policy meeting tomorrow to consider the pace of asset purchases. Policy makers will probably wait until March before starting to reduce the $85 billion of monthly bond buying, a Bloomberg survey showed this month.

ThyssenKrupp fell 3.6 percent to 18.31 euros. A series of problems has made it impossible for the company to sell its Brazilian steel plant at the moment, Handelsblatt reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the process.

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG slipped 1.5 percent to 59.09 euros and 1.3 percent to 174.25 euros, respectively. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG fell 1.5 percent to 82.39 euros. JPMorgan cut its rating on European carmakers to neutral from overweight, citing the sector’s price versus the wider stock market. A gauge of automakers traded at the highest level in five years relative to the Stoxx 600 this month, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Evotec Gains

Evotec climbed 3.9 percent to 4.10 euros. The drug-research company reached undisclosed milestones in the development of immunology treatments as part of an alliance with Brussels-based UCB, according to a statement.

RWE and EON added 1.2 percent to 27.26 euros and 0.5 percent to 13.48 euros, respectively.

JPMorgan upgraded European utilities to neutral from underweight, saying valuations have lagged the broader market. The Stoxx 600 Utilities Index trades at 12.3 times projected earnings, less than the 14.8 times earnings for the broader European market.

The volume of shares changing hands in DAX-listed companies was 32 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. A storm in the U.K. today may prevent some commuters from getting to work as rail operators across southern Britain canceled rush-hour services.

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