Most German stocks rose as data showing that U.S. companies hired more workers than economists had forecast outweighed a release revealing the U.S. economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter.
K+S AG gained 2.6 percent after peer Yara International ASA reported better-than-estimated earnings. Munich Re slid the most in eight weeks as its chief executive officer said the reinsurer’s profit probably fell in the first quarter. Daimler AG lost 1.6 percent as the maker of Mercedes-Benz vehicles posted quarterly net income that missed analysts’ estimates.
The DAX Index advanced 0.2 percent to 9,603.23 at the close in Frankfurt, as three stocks rose for every two that fell. The benchmark has dropped 1.4 percent from the record it set on Jan. 17 as Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and the European Union responded with sanctions. Germany buys more exports from Russia than any other country, according to the International Monetary Fund. The DAX climbed 0.5 percent this month. The broader HDAX Index added 0.1 percent today.
“Earnings have been OK, but not great,” Peter Dixon, a London-based global equities economist at Commerzbank AG, said by phone. “Ukraine is not at the forefront, but prevents investors from taking more aggressive positions. With the Fed meeting, it’s about the language. The Fed is no longer making a big deal of the unemployment rate, so the focus is on the bigger picture, the wider economy.”
A report from the ADP Research Institute showed U.S. companies hired 220,000 employees in April, more than the 210,000 that analysts had forecast. The institute said payrolls in the private sector increased by a net 209,000 in March, more than it previously estimated.
A Commerce Department showed that the world’s biggest economy expanded at an annualized 0.1 percent in the first quarter, missing the median forecast of 1.2 percent in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.
The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee will probably leave its key interest rate at 0.25 percent, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. The central bank announces the decision from its two-day meeting after the close of European trading. The Fed may reduce its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $45 billion, economists predicted. They expect the Fed to stop buying more assets at its October meeting, according to a March 17 survey.
K+S, Europe’s biggest potash supplier, advanced 2.6 percent to 25.21 euros. Yara, which distributes and sells potash-based products, climbed after posting first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 3.83 billion kroner ($644 million). That exceeded the 3.26 billion kroner predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Nemetschek AG climbed 4.5 percent to 62.65 euros, its highest price since 2000, after net income in the January-through-March quarter rose to 7.5 million euros from 5.5 million euros a year earlier. The maker of software for construction projects reiterated its full-year forecast for an earnings margin of 23 percent to 25 percent on sales of 207 million euros to 212 million euros.
Munich Re slipped 2.1 percent to 166.45 euros after Nikolaus von Bomhard told the company’s annual general meeting that first-quarter net income probably fell to about 900 million euros from 972 million euros a year earlier. The world’s biggest reinsurer reports its results on May 8.
Daimler dropped 1.6 percent to 66.73 euros after reporting first-quarter net income of 1.03 billion euros. That trailed the 1.1 billion-euro average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The 7 percent profit margin at Mercedes-Benz missed Credit Suisse Group AG’s 7.5 percent forecast and the company’s own long-term target of 10 percent.
Rational AG slumped 12 percent to 230 euros after the maker of cooking appliances for commercial kitchens posted first-quarter earnings before income and taxes of 20.7 million euros and revenue of 100.8 million euros. That missed analysts’ predictions for Ebit of 27.7 million euros on sales of 113.5 million euros.