German Stocks Little Changed as Euro-Area Output DeclinesJonathan Morgan
German stocks were little changed as a report showing euro-area industrial production fell more than economists forecast in January offset better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data.
Commerzbank AG fell to its lowest price in almost four months after saying it will sell 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of shares to repay stakes owned by Allianz SE and a government fund. Infineon Technologies AG dropped the most in two weeks after Morgan Stanley downgraded the shares. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG led carmakers lower.
The DAX Index added 0.1 percent to 7,970.91 at the close of trading in Frankfurt. The measure has rallied 4.7 percent this year, reaching a five-year high last week, amid optimism central banks around the world will continue to support economic growth. The broader HDAX Index also rose 0.1 percent today.
“Given the impressive rally of the last four months, combined with the latest euro area economic data, the DAX index is likely to enter a new phase, with range trading in the 7,500-8,000 level,” Peter Garnry, an equity strategist at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, wrote in a message.
The volume of shares changing hands on the DAX was 2 ½ times greater than the average of the last 30 days, led by trading in Commerzbank, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Factory production in the 17-nation euro zone dropped 0.4 percent in January from December, when it rose a revised 0.9 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 32 economists was for a 0.1 percent decline. Production fell 1.3 percent in January from a year earlier.
Sales at U.S. retailers rose in February by the most in five months. The 1.1 percent advance was more than forecast and followed a revised 0.2 percent gain in January, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent gain.
Commerzbank slumped 9.7 percent to 1.26 euros, its lowest price since Nov. 16. Germany’s second-largest lender is also asking shareholders to approve a reverse share split reducing the number of shares to 583 million from 5.83 billion, the company said in an e-mailed statement from Frankfurt today.
Infineon Technologies dropped 2.4 percent to 6.62 euros. Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight, a rating similar to sell, from equal weight, saying margins at Europe’s second-biggest semiconductor maker could take longer to recover to 15 percent than consensus estimates.
BMW, the largest maker of luxury cars, declined 1 percent to 71.27 euros. A gauge of European auto stocks was among the worst performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stocks Europe 600 Index.
Adidas AG rose 0.8 percent to 78.89 euros, its highest price since at least 1995, after Credit Suisse AG raised its target price for the world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker to 86 euros a share from 61 euros.