German stocks declined for a second day, their first back-to-back losses in three weeks, with shares of utilities posting the biggest losses.
RWE AG and EON SE dropped at least 2.9 percent each after the U.K. announced stricter trading rules for energy suppliers. Lanxess AG retreated 2.7 percent after saying impairment charges led to a net loss in 2013. SMA Solar Technology AG jumped to a two-year high after agreeing to sell a 20 percent stake to Danfoss A/S.
The DAX slipped 0.4 percent to 9,661.73 at the close in Frankfurt. The gauge is heading for a 3.8 percent increase this month amid optimism that the global economy can withstand reductions in Federal Reserve stimulus. The broader HDAX Index slid 0.4 percent today.
“We have had some disappointing outlooks from German companies recently,” said Alessandro Fezzi, senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich. “Investors are starting to focus on the negative. So that may make the market a bit more volatile.”
Sales of new houses in the U.S. in January climbed 9.6 percent to a 468,000 annualized pace, the highest level since July 2008. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 400,000.
RWE fell 4.2 percent to 29.07 euros, while EON slid 2.9 percent to 13.73 euros. The U.K.’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets announced new rules for the country’s six largest power suppliers and generators to improve transparency and competition. The companies including RWE’s nPower and EON U.K. are now required to publish the prices at which they will trade wholesale power as long as two years in advance and face penalties if found trading unfairly, Ofgem said.
Lanxess dropped 2.7 percent to 53.37 euros. The chemical maker said a changing competitive environment because of overcapacity and costs led to an impairment charge of 257 million euros ($353 million) in the fourth quarter. As a result, the company expects to report a 2013 net loss of 159 million euros. Lanxess will publish results on March 20.
SMA rallied 13 percent to 46.79 euros, its highest price since February 2012. Danfoss will pay 43.57 euros per share for a 20 percent stake in SMA, SMA said in a statement. The German company will take over the solar-inverter business of Danfoss.
Nordex SE advanced 8.4 percent to 10.98 euros. The wind-turbine maker’s shares were raised to buy from hold at Commerzbank, which cited an outlook for strong full-year earnings and growth in the German market.