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Stocks in Germany Decline as Investors Weigh Fed Minutes

German stocks retreated, after a day of fluctuations, as investors weighed minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting and worse-than-forecast Chinese trade data.

Daimler AG and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG declined in line with European peers. Gerresheimer AG added 4.5 percent after the maker of syringes and inhalers reported quarterly earnings and sales that exceeded projections. Wacker Chemie AG gained 3 percent as UBS AG included the company among its most preferred stocks ahead of the chemical maker’s results report next month.

The DAX slipped 0.6 percent to 9,454.54 at the close of trading in Frankfurt, after switching between gains and losses at least 10 times. The benchmark gauge has lost 2.5 percent since April 4, pushed lower by tensions in Ukraine and a selloff in the best-performing stocks from Asia to Europe and the U.S. The DAX is 3 percent below a record reached on Jan. 17. The broader HDAX Index also fell 0.6 percent today.

“A large number of futures contracts were sold on the Euro Stoxx 50 this morning, which triggered many stop-losses and dragged core markets in Europe like the CAC and the DAX down with it,” Steven Santos, a broker at X-Trade Brokers DM SA, said by phone from Lisbon. “About 20 thousand contracts were sold in a few minutes. This sudden weakness was the main catalyst for today’s fluctuation. The mood is still quite positive given the Fed’s minutes.”

Futures on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index expiring in June slumped 0.9 percent at 11:45 a.m. Frankfurt time. At the same time, the DAX fell as much as 0.7 percent below yesterday’s close, after earlier rising as much as 0.8 percent.

Fed Projections

The Federal Reserve played down projections by some of its policy makers that interest rates might climb faster than they previously forecast, the minutes of the central bank’s March 18-19 policy meeting showed.

Fed officials predicted at their meeting last month that the benchmark rate will rise to 1 percent at the end of 2015 and 2.25 percent a year later, higher than they previously forecast. The increase in the median projection exaggerated the likely speed of tightening, according to the minutes, which were released after European markets closed yesterday.

China’s exports and imports unexpectedly fell in March, according to data released today by the customs administration in Beijing. Overseas shipments contracted 6.6 percent from a year earlier. Imports declined 11.3 percent, in part on falling commodity prices, leaving a trade surplus of $7.71 billion.

Carmakers Fall

BMW, the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars, dropped 0.9 percent to 90.51 euros, while Daimler, the third-biggest, declined 1.3 percent to 67.29 euros. A gauge of auto-related companies fell the most of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Gerresheimer added 4.5 percent to 47.20 euros, its biggest rally since June 2013. Adjusted earnings climbed to 38 euro cents per share in the three months through Nov. 30, from 36 cents a year earlier. Analysts had predicted 34 cents on average. Sales of 297.5 million euros ($412.7 million) beat the average analyst estimate of 295.1 million euros.

Wacker Chemie advanced 3 percent to 88 euros. UBS predicted that the chemical maker will report higher sales and wider margins for its polysilicon unit on May 5, which will help boost profit for its financial first quarter.

Sky Deutschland AG rose 0.7 percent to 6.57 euros, after earlier gaining as much as 5.4 percent. Chief Financial Officer Steven Tomsic reiterated the pay-TV operator’s 2014 forecast for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 70 million euros to 90 million euros, according to the text of a speech prepared for its annual general meeting.

The volume of shares changing hands in DAX-listed companies was 10 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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