Most German stocks advanced as better-than-expected investor confidence data outweighed disappointment that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke refrained from discussing specific stimulus steps in his semi- annual testimony before Congress.
BASF SE (BAS) climbed 1.2 percent after saying a new fungicidal ingredient was cleared for use in crop-protection products. Volkswagen AG (VOW) gained as a report showed car sales increased in the country for the first half of the year. Deutsche Boerse AG lost 0.5 percent after analysts at Commerzbank AG and DZ Bank AG reduced their estimates on the share price.
The DAX Index (DAX) added 0.2 percent to 6,577.64 at the close in Frankfurt, having advanced as much as 0.7 percent and lost as much as 0.4 percent. Nineteen of the gauge’s 30 members rose, while 11 fell. The index has climbed 10 percent from its 2012 low on June 5 as Greece formed a new government and European Union leaders agreed to directly recapitalize Spanish banks using the euro area’s permanent bailout fund. The broader HDAX Index also advanced 0.2 percent today.
“The market’s been marched up the hill all day by expectations, and Ben Bernanke’s marched them all the way back down,” said Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets U.K. Plc in London. “The economic data is not great but it’s not horrible, and it’s too politically difficult for him to implement QE3 right now,” he said, referring to a third round of quantitative easing.
Bernanke said in a semi-annual testimony to Congress today that the Fed is ready to take further action to boost economic growth, without identifying specific steps. Progress on reducing unemployment may be “frustratingly slow,” he said.
“The U.S. economy has continued to recover, but economic activity appears to have decelerated somewhat during the first half of this year,” Bernanke said. The Fed is “prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery.”
German investor confidence declined for a third month in July as the euro area’s debt crisis and the cooling global economy dimmed the economic outlook.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, fell to minus 19.6 from minus 16.9 in June. Economists forecast a drop to minus 20, according to the median of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
New-car registrations in the first half of 2012 rose 0.7 percent in Germany, even as sales in Europe dropped 6.3 percent, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said today in a statement.
BASF gained 1.2 percent to 56.91 euros after saying it received European Union approval to use its fungicidal active ingredient Xemium in crop-protection products. Xemium is “on track” to beat peak potential sales of 200 million euros ($244 million), the company said.
Volkswagen climbed 0.4 percent to 137.40 euros, paring gains of as much as 1.9 percent.
K+S AG (SDF), Europe’s largest potash producer, rose 1.6 percent to 38.56 euros after Credit Agricole Cheuvreux SA said in a report the company’s second-quarter earnings may beat estimates.
Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1) dropped 0.5 percent to 41.11 euros after Commerzbank cut the share-price target to 48 euros from 53 euros. DZ Bank also reduced the share price target and said it no longer expects a capital market recovery in the second half of 2012.
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