German Stocks Gain, Paring Second Straight Weekly Decline

German stocks rose, paring a weekly decline, as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country has no plans to invade Ukraine and as investors awaited a referendum on Sunday that may lead to Crimea’s secession.

HeidelbergCement AG slid 1.9 percent after Berenberg Bank cut its recommendation on the cement maker. Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG declined more than 1.5 percent each, pacing a drop among European lenders. Fresenius SE rose 3.2 percent after saying it plans a stock split.

The DAX rose 0.4 percent to 9,056.41 at the close in Frankfurt. The measure has fallen 3.2 percent this week and is down 7.1 percent from a record on Jan. 17, with concern growing that Russian military intervention in Ukraine could lead to sanctions and trade disruptions. The broader HDAX Index gained 0.3 percent today.

The DAX erased losses of as much as 1.2 percent after Lavrov said that Russia has no plans to invade eastern Ukraine, following talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Clashes broke out between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian demonstrations in Donetsk, in which one protester died and 17 people were injured, according to the regional government.

Voters in Crimea will take part in a referendum on Sunday to decide on secession. Leaders of the Group of Seven nations have said that they will not recognize the outcome.

Germany has the most at stake in Ukraine among western European countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Trade between the two countries totaled $8.38 billion in 2012. Germany is Russia’s biggest trading partner after China, the data show.

Construction Stocks

HeidelbergCement slipped 1.9 percent to 59.52 euros. Berenberg Bank cut its recommendation on the shares to hold from buy, meaning that it no longer advises to acquire the stock. The brokerage cited limited potential for further gains among construction stocks. The world’s third-largest maker of cement rose 10 percent this year through yesterday.

Hochtief AG, the builder controlled by Spain’s Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA, fell 2.8 percent to 64.58 euros.

Deutsche Bank slid 1.5 percent to 31.07 euros, and Commerzbank lost 1.8 percent to 12.04 euros. Lenders in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell the most among 19 industry groups.

Fresenius gained 3.2 percent to 108.35 euros. The health-care company said it will propose a stock split at a May 16 annual general meeting, tripling the number of shares. Holders will get two new shares for every one owned.

Fresenius Medical Care AG advanced 1.7 percent to 48.28 euros. Redburn Partners LLP recommended buying the stock, raising its rating from neutral. The brokerage said it expects cost savings will double to $120 million by 2017. Fresenius SE owns 31 percent of Fresenius Medical Care.

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