German stocks fell for a third day as investors weighed reports on U.S. retail sales and jobless claims amid concern the Federal Reserve will decide to pare its monthly bond purchases sooner than forecast.
Lanxess AG slipped 1.3 percent as European chemical companies dropped. K+S AG retreated 2.3 percent. Fresenius SE gained as Equinet Bank AG reiterated its buy rating on the health company, saying its hospital portfolio deal with Rhoen-Klinikum AG could close within the next two weeks.
The DAX Index retreated 0.7 percent to 9,017, its lowest level in more than a month, at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The benchmark has lost 4.1 percent this month, paring its annual gain to 18 percent, as better-than-expected U.S. economic reports spurred speculation that the Fed will pare its stimulus measures sooner than forecast. The broader HDAX Index also slipped 0.7 percent today.
“The market still shows the fear of tapering and with low volume some people are taking profits,” said Herbert Perus, who helps oversee about $36 billion as head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna. “There’s a little bit of selling pressure, but if you look at the performance over the last year, it’s just a little blink.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the DAX was 14 percent lower than the average of the past 100 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped last week from an almost three-month low. Jobless claims surged by 68,000 to a two-month high of 368,000 in the period ended Dec. 7, exceeding the highest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists, Labor Department data showed today in Washington.
Retail sales climbed 0.7 percent, the most since June, after a 0.6 percent advance in October that was larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.6 percent advance.
The U.S. central bank may consider reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases at its Dec. 17-18 meeting, according to 34 percent of economists surveyed Dec. 6 by Bloomberg, up from 17 percent in a Nov. 8 poll.
Lanxess AG slipped 1.3 percent to 44.36 euros. The chemical company declined for a fourth day, extending its loss this year to 33 percent.
A gauge of chemical makers on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped for a third day, losing 0.7 percent.
K+S, Europe’s biggest potash distributor, fell 2.3 percent to 20 euros, for a fourth day of losses.
Fresenius SE was one of just two stocks that rose on the equity gauge, gaining 0.4 percent to 104.90 euros. Equinet said shares in the health company could rise as much as 10 percent if the 3.07 billion-euro ($4.22 billion) agreement to buy part of Rhoen-Klinikum’s hospital portfolio closes within the next two weeks.