German Stocks Are Little Changed Near a Five-Year High

German stocks were little changed, near their highest level in more than five years, as Fitch Ratings downgraded Italy’s debt, offsetting a report that showed Europe’s largest economy exported more than estimated.

Deutsche Bank AG fell, following European banks lower. Continental AG, Europe’s second-largest maker of auto parts, slipped after Morgan Stanley downgraded the shares. Nordex SE rallied to its highest price in 11 months after predicting that sales will climb in 2013.

The DAX Index slipped less than 0.1 percent to 7,984.29 at the close in Frankfurt, close to its highest level since Dec. 28, 2007. The gauge rallied 3.8 percent over the past four days. The broader HDAX Index also lost less than 0.1 percent today.

“Many positive things are priced in at this level” said Christian Schmidt, a market analyst at Helaba Frankfurt. “It’s normal to see a correction after the huge increase. Other than the Italy downgrade, there isn’t much news.”

Bunds climbed, with 10-year securities snapping a five-day slide, after Fitch lowered Italy’s credit rating by one level, increasing demand for the euro area’s safest assets.

Fitch cut Italy’s government bond rating to BBB+ from A-with a negative outlook after the close of equity markets on March 8, as last month’s election produced political paralysis that threatens the country’s ability to respond to a recession and the euro region’s debt crisis.

German exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, advanced 1.4 percent from December, when they gained 0.2 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said. Economists had forecast a 0.5 increase, according to the median of 14 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Cyprus Bailout

European Union leaders will meet for a summit in Brussels on March 14-15 to discuss the terms of Cyprus’s bailout. These include the nation’s debt sustainability and possibly imposing losses on depositors.

Deutsche Bank retreated 1.1 percent to 34.19 euros. A gauge of lenders in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.7 percent for the biggest drag on the equity benchmark.

Continental slid 1.2 percent to 96.68 euros. The stock was cut to equal weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley, meaning that investors should not buy more of the shares. The brokerage said that European auto suppliers have limited upside.

ElringKlinger AG slid 4.6 percent to 22.01 euros. The maker of car parts was cut to reduce from buy at Kepler and lowered to reduce from hold at Commerzbank AG, meaning that investors should sell the shares. Germany’s second-largest lender said that ElringKlinger’s higher valuation compared with its rivals may have peaked.

Nordex, Suedzucker

Nordex jumped 15 percent to 4.43 euros after the wind-turbine maker forecast sales of as high as 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) and a margin on earnings before interest and taxes of as much as 3 percent. The company posted revenue of 1.075 billion euros for 2012.

Suedzucker AG, Europe’s biggest sugar producer, fell 4.9 percent to 32.33 euros, its biggest decline in two months.

Henkel AG, which makes Persil detergent, advanced 2.4 percent to 72.12 euros for the biggest gain on the DAX.

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