German stocks fell for a third day, with the benchmark DAX (DAX) Index declining to its lowest in more than two months, as President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders to discuss the so-called fiscal cliff, and conflict escalated in Israel.
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA dropped 4.7 percent after reporting third-quarter organic sales growth below analysts’ estimates. Commerzbank AG (CBK) and Allianz SE (ALV) led lenders and insurers lower, falling 5 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.
The DAX slid 1.3 percent to 6,950.53, its lowest since Sept. 4, at the close of trading in Frankfurt, for a weekly loss of 3 percent. The equity benchmark has dropped 5.8 percent since Obama’s re-election on Nov. 6 as investors’ attention turned to the U.S. fiscal cliff that will trigger $607 billion in automatic budget cuts and tax increases unless Congress reaches a compromise. The broader HDAX Index lost 1.3 percent today.
“People are sitting on the sidelines and want to know what the outcome is going to be because then you can factor it into valuations and start making sensible decisions as an investor,” Andy Lynch, a portfolio manager at Schroder Investment Management Ltd. in London, said, referring to the fiscal cliff discussions.
Obama began meetings on the fiscal cliff with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders today. Lawmakers of both parties want to avoid a short-term shock to the economy while making progress on long-term deficit reduction.
Obama’s insistence on higher taxes for top earners and Republicans’ refusal to raise rates leaves negotiators with arithmetically complex and politically fraught choices.
Obama held his first face-to-face conversation with House Speaker John Boehner since the presidential election. At the White House meeting on the fiscal cliff, Obama also hosted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.
Industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in October as superstorm Sandy knocked out power in the Northeast. Output at factories, mines and utilities dropped 0.4 percent last month after a revised 0.2 percent increase in September that was smaller than previously estimated, Federal Reserve data showed today in Washington.
Economists forecast a 0.2 percent gain, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The Fed said the storm cut total production by almost 1 percentage point.
Stocks extended losses as Hamas said it fired a rocket at the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, while Israel extended its bombing of Gaza.
Italian Finance Minister Vittorio Grilli said he is confident that euro-region finance chiefs will reach an agreement on aiding Greece when they meet next week.
The Mediterranean nation was granted an additional two years to reach budget-deficit goals in its bailout program. European finance ministers will be discussing ways of plugging the funding gap resulting from that extension at a Nov. 20 meeting in Brussels.
“We know that there are several options for helping Greece get through this very important challenge,” Grilli said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London. “I am clearly optimistic that we can come to a decision.”
Henkel fell 4.7 percent to 58.41 euros, its biggest drop in more than a year. The chemical company reported third-quarter organic sales growth of 2.5 percent, falling short of the average analyst estimate of 3.4 percent growth.
It still reported third-quarter profit that surpassed analysts’ estimates led by revenue growth in laundry, home care and emerging markets. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose 17 percent to 631 million euros ($803.6 million), the Dusseldorf-based company said in a separate statement. Profit exceeded the 620.1 million-euro average estimate of 13 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) slid 3.8 percent to 32.16 euros. Germany’s largest bank extended declines in the final hour of trading after a Munich court said it may have to pay as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in a case tied to the collapse of the Kirch group of media companies.
The case is one of several lawsuits continuing after Leo Kirch’s July 2011 death that allege the bank secretly plotted to bring about the demise of his media empire.
Commerzbank AG, Germany’s second-largest bank, lost 5 percent to 1.24 euros. A gauge of banks was the worst performer on the Stoxx 600 Europe Index.
Allianz SE slid 2.4 percent to 92.40 euros as a measure of European insurers fell 1.6 percent on the Stoxx 600.
ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA), Germany’s largest steelmaker, lost 3.3 percent to 15.96 euros.
RWE AG (RWE), the country’s largest utility, slid 3 percent to 31.71 euros.
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