German Stocks Are Little Changed as Output Beats Forecast

German stocks were little changed, after the benchmark DAX Index’s biggest weekly slump in eight weeks, as a report showed industrial production in Europe’s largest economy rebounded in February.

Bayer increased 2.6 percent after saying that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted priority review status to its application for a new hypertension drug. United Internet AG advanced the most since July 26 after Morgan Stanley recommended the shares.

The DAX added 0.1 percent to 7,662.64 at the close of trading in in Frankfurt, after losing 1.8 percent last week. The equity benchmark has advanced 0.7 percent this year amid speculation that central banks will maintain their stimulus measures. The broader HDAX Index added 0.2 percent today.

“Investors are watching from the sidelines, which is probably a good idea at the moment as we enter a seasonally weaker period,” Matthias Jasper, head of equities at WGZ Bank AG in Dusseldorf, said in a phone interview. “Today people are cautious -- one has to see that overall sentiment has dropped massively recently.”

The number of shares trading hands on DAX-listed companies was 42 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

German production rose 0.5 percent from January, when it contracted a revised 0.6 percent, the Economy Ministry said today. Economists forecast a 0.3 percent gain, according to the median of 41 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, production dropped 1.8 percent when adjusted for working days.

Earnings Season

Alcoa Inc., the largest U.S. aluminum producer, unofficially kicks off the U.S. earnings-reporting season after the close of U.S. markets today. Profits at companies in the S&P 500 may contract 1.8 percent in the first quarter, the first decline since 2009, analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

Bayer, Germany’s largest drugmaker, rose 2.6 percent to 81.09 euros after announcing that the FDA granted priority review to the new drug application for the oral investigational treatment riociguat.

United Internet AG gained 4.3 percent to 19.36 euros. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of the phone and Internet services provider with an overweight rating, the equivalent of a buy recommendation, saying it may double its dividend by 2015.

Stada Arzneimittel

Stada Arzneimittel AG added 2.9 percent to 30.33 euros as Berenberg Bank AG listed the drugmaker among its top five German and Austrian small company stocks, citing management’s successful implementation of cost-cutting measures and its diversification toward fast-growing, high-margin products. The shares lost 7.7 percent last week.

Patrizia Immobilien AG surged 6.7 percent to 7.62 euros, its biggest jump since July 19. The real estate company will lead a group of insurers, pension funds and savings banks to buy Bayerische Landesbank’s GBW AG unit in a transaction that values the residential landlord at 2.5 billion euros ($3.3 billion).

Continental AG, Europe’s largest tire manufacturer, declined 1.5 percent to 89.11 euros. Italian peer Pirelli & C. SpA said late April 5 it will postpone its presentation on the business plan for 2013-to-2017 to November from May for better clarity on how a weak European economy is damping demand.

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