German stocks fell the most in four weeks, following an annual gain for the DAX Index, as utilities dropped and U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in December.
RWE AG and EON SE slipped at least 2.5 percent, following European utilities lower. K+S AG declined the most in seven weeks after Bank of America Corp. said the stock may trail the broader market in the first quarter.
The DAX lost 1.6 percent to 9,400.04 at the close of trading in Frankfurt, its largest retreat since Dec. 3. The benchmark gauge rose for a second straight year, gaining 25 percent in 2013, as central banks around the world left interest rates low. The broader HDAX Index slid 1.3 percent today.
“Investors are sitting on the sidelines not quite knowing what the new year will bring,” Robert Halver, head of capital-markets research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt, said in a telephone interview. “Next Monday, investors will focus on new opportunities. It would be wrong to draw any conclusions from today’s market.”
In the U.S., the Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 57 in December from the prior month’s 57.3, which was the highest since April 2011, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. Readings above 50 indicate expansion. The median forecast of 66 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 56.8, with estimates ranging from 55.3 to 58. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy.
Data today showed German manufacturing expanded for a sixth month. The final reading for December came in at 54.3, exceeding a preliminary finding of 54.2. A separate final release today confirmed manufacturing in the euro zone expanded last month at the fastest pace since May 2011.
RWE dropped 3.6 percent to 25.65 euros, its biggest decrease in seven weeks. Handelsblatt reported that the utility may seek shareholders’ approval for an option to raise capital by 10 percent. RWE spokesman Michael Murphy told Bloomberg News that the utility does not plan a capital increase for the foreseeable future.
EON, Germany’s biggest utility, fell 2.7 percent to 13.06 euros as a gauge of European utilities gauge slid 1.4 percent.
K+S retreated 3.4 percent to 21.61 euros, its biggest decline since Nov. 14. Bank of America named Europe’s biggest potash supplier one of the potential laggards in Europe this quarter.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG retreated 1.6 percent to 15.17 euros. La Tribune reported the airline’s workers in France plan a strike from tomorrow to protest against job cuts.
Deutsche Annington Immobilien SE advanced 1.6 percent to 18.29 euros. Germany’s biggest residential landlord by market value may pay a dividend of about 70 euro cents, Handelsblatt report said, citing an interview with Chief Executive Officer Rolf Buch.
The volume of shares changing hands in DAX-listed companies was 23 percent higher than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.