The Motley Fool

Your Weekly German Stock Review (11/3/2014 – 11/7/2014)

In this weekly feature, we’ll give a brief snapshot of the big stories and big stock moves that shaped the markets.

Figures in this article reflect prices as of market close on 11/6/2014 unless otherwise specified.

The major indices

After a bit of a rocky start to the week, the DAX (the 30 largest companies on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) finished the week in fine form, continuing its upward trend from mid-October to flirt with 9,400.

The performance of the HDAX , which consists of all stocks on the DAX, MDAX (the next 50 largest German companies, excluding tech), and TecDAX (the 30 largest tech stocks) was nearly identical to the DAX’s. Meanwhile, the MDAX and the TecDAX themselves appeared to lag this week, but this was largely due to their stronger performance in the prior week: for the month, these two indices are slightly outperforming their peers.

I thought the Market DROPPED on Bad News

For all the fears and worries and troubling economic news of the last several weeks, the German stock market has continued to rebound from its lows in mid-October. Have investors gotten so used to ominous economic forecasts that they just take them in stride now?

Take this week, for instance. After the European Commission nearly halved its 2015 growth forecast for Germany — from 2% to 1.2% — the DAX and other major indices continued to climb. Early on Thursday, the German Economics Ministry reported that factory orders rose by only 0.8% in September, far below the consensus estimate of 2.3%. Again, all the indices rose. What’s going on?

One possibility is that, yes, investors have become inured to Germany’s — indeed, Europe’s — continuing economic woes. Another possibility is that investors are focusing more on the fundamentals of each individual business rather than the market as a whole, and seeing enough positives to outweigh overall market concerns. Whatever’s going on, I certainly hope it continues!

This Week’s Winners and Losers

LOSER: Industrial services and building group Bilfinger SE (ETR:GBF) issued yet another profit warning — its fourth since June — on Wednesday. This after Interim CEO Herbert Bodner said, after the third profit warning last month, that he was “reasonably sure” the company could meet its profit estimates. Bodner, along with the company’s chairman and finance chief, has announced plans to step down. Shares stepped down, too, to the tune of 14%.

WINNER: Shares of Lufthansa (ETR:LHA) took off this week, after dropping more than 7% last week on lowered 2015 guidance. It has soared more than 8% since Monday, after beating quarterly earnings expectations over the weekend, coupled with news that its pilots’ union would not strike during ongoing negotiations. It’s now higher than it was before last week’s drop.

LOSER: Lanxess (ETR:LXS), the world’s largest maker of synthetic rubber, saw its shares deflate by about 8% after announcing it would cut 1,000 jobs, or about 6% of its global workforce, in addition to other cost-saving measures. Investors were disappointed that the cuts weren’t deeper.

WINNER: Siemens lighting spinoff Osram Licht (ETR:OSR) announced that CEO Wolfgang Dehen would be stepping down from all his positions “at his own request.” They have named Olaf Berlien as the new CEO and Chief Technology Officer. Dehen had been criticized for not capitalizing quickly enough on the industry shift from traditional bulbs to LEDs. The stock was up nearly 7% on Thursday.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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John Bromels and The Motley Fool own none of the stocks mentioned in this article.

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