German Stocks Are Little Changed on Investor Confidence

German stocks were little changed as a measure of investor confidence in Europe’s biggest economy fell short of estimates.

Hochtief AG advanced 4.7 percent after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying the shares. Deutsche Boerse AG fell 1.2 percent after Equinet Bank AG said that the stock exchange operator’s earnings forecast for 2014 may disappoint investors.

The DAX Index added less than 0.1 percent to 9,659.78 at the close in Frankfurt after climbing as much as 0.4 percent and dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The equity benchmark has jumped 6 percent from its low on Feb. 5 as a report showed Chinese imports rebounded in January. Germany has the largest current account surplus with China of any European nation, according to the International Monetary Fund. The broader HDAX Index was unchanged today.

“We had a really nice run and today seems to be just a bit of a breather, nothing more,” Michael Kapler, an equities portfolio manager at Mittelbrandenburgische Sparkasse said by phone from Potsdam, Germany. “I’m not concerned about one weak piece of data. This seems to be a bit of profit taking.”

A report from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research showed that German investor confidence slipped to 55.7 this month. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for a reading of 61.5. The measure, which aims to predict economic developments in six months’ time, climbed to 62 in December, its highest level since 2006.

The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the DAX was 36 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hochtief Rallies

Hochtief gained 4.7 percent to 62.74 euros. Goldman Sachs raised the shares to buy from neutral, saying the German owner of Australia’s largest construction company may announce a buyback when it reports its full-year results on Feb. 27. The brokerage forecast that profitability at Hochtief’s core construction businesses will improve.

MTU Aero Engines AG rose 1 percent to 63.61 euros after posting adjusted net income of 232.1 million euros ($319 million) for 2013. That beat the average analyst projection of 229.1 million euros.

Deutsche Boerse declined 1.2 percent to 58.80 euros. Equinet reiterated its sell rating on the owner of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, saying that the company’s earnings in 2014 may fall short of estimates. The average forecast in a Bloomberg survey calls for profit of 3.89 euros a share this year. Deutsche Boerse reports its results for 2013 tomorrow.

Suedzucker AG lost 1.9 percent to 19 euros after saying it will pay a 195.5 million-euro fine to Germany’s Federal Cartel Authority for colluding with other sugar producers in its home market.

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