German stocks advanced, reversing earlier declines, led by gains in Henkel AG and Siemens AG.
Henkel advanced 5.4 percent after posting earnings that beat estimates. Siemens added 2.1 percent after outlining plans to cut costs in an overhaul that includes spinning off its hearing-aid unit. Commerzbank AG retreated 3.7 percent after first-quarter profit missed analyst projections.
The DAX Index rose 0.6 percent to 9,521.3 at the close in Frankfurt, after earlier falling as much as 0.6 percent and rallying as much as 0.9 percent. The equity gauge has lost 2.8 percent from a record on Jan. 17 through yesterday as Russia annexed Crimea and the West responded with sanctions. The HDAX Index gained 0.5 percent today.
“Even on the basis of the midday rally on the Ukraine news, there are some underlying things here supporting the market,” said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Brokers LP in London. “Earnings season is shaping up reasonably well even with all these caveats and lowered expectations. People are willing to put more risk back on the table; no one wants to miss out on a relief rally.”
President Vladimir Putin said Russia pulled back its troops from the Ukrainian border and called on separatists in the country’s south and east to postpone planned May 11 plebiscites over regional autonomy. U.S. officials said there was no evidence of a pull-back.
German factory orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, fell 2.8 percent in March from February, when they increased a revised 0.9 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said. Economists had forecast a gain of 0.3 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
Henkel rose 5.4 percent to 83.05 euros. The maker of Persil washing detergent said earnings before interest and taxes, excluding one-time items and restructuring costs, climbed 3.3 percent to 619 million euros ($862 million), beating the average analyst prediction of 600.8 million euros.
Siemens gained 2.1 percent to 95.84 euros. Europe’s largest engineering company is overhauling itself, while planning to list its hearing-aid unit. The new setup is designed to save 1 billion euros in annual costs, the company said. Siemens also said it agreed to buy some Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc energy assets for $1.3 billion.
Osram Licht AG added 2.5 percent to 37.85 euros. HSBC Holdings Plc raised the lighting manufacturer to overweight, similar to a buy, from neutral. The brokerage cited an outlook for growth and margin expansion at its specialty-lighting business and opto semiconductor unit, which makes LEDs.
Commerzbank lost 3.7 percent to 12.14 euros. Germany’s second-biggest bank said first-quarter net income was 200 million euros, compared with a 98 million-euro loss a year earlier. Analysts projected a 227.1 million-euro profit. Net interest income, or revenue from loans minus payments on deposits, fell to 1.13 billion euros from 1.36 billion euros.
Draegerwerk AG sank 8.3 percent to 76.92 euros, the most since November 2011. The aerospace-equipment maker reported first-quarter Ebit of 19 million euros, missing the average estimate of 33-million euros.
HeidelbergCement AG retreated 1.7 percent to 61.26 euros. Berenberg Bank said its first-quarter operating Ebitda was below estimates. The world’s third-largest cement maker confirmed its forecast that sales, operating profit and net income will rise in 2014, adjusted for one-time effects.