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Your Weekly German Stock Review (11/10/2014 – 11/14/2014)

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

All figures are from market close on 11/13/2014 unless otherwise specified.

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The major indices

The DAX (the 30 largest companies on the Deutsche Börse) was stagnant in the week leading up to Germany’s quarterly GDP report. Thursday’s close of 9,248.51 was barely above Monday’s open of 9,233.87. The performance of the MDAX (the next 50 largest German companies, excluding tech), TecDAX (the 30 largest tech stocks), and the HDAX, which consists of all stocks on the DAX, MDAX, and TecDAX, likewise finished near their weekly opens, with the TecDAX up a hair and the MDAX and HDAX down less than a percent.

Is it a (gulp) Recession?

Just last week, I expressed my surprise that the major German stock indices had climbed steadily higher over the past month, despite poor growth forecasts and negative economic reports. But this week, many outside observers were concerned that some news was coming that the market couldn’t possibly absorb so well: recession.

A “recession” is defined as two straight quarters of economic contraction, usually measured by falling GDP. We had the first in Q2 of this year, when GDP shrank by 0.2%. The third quarter report is scheduled to be released today.

Most economists agree this one will be a nail-biter. For example, Hans-Werner Sinn, the head of the IFO research institute, said on Monday, “It’s going to be really close.” German Banking Association chair Jürgen Fitschen, though, took a more negative view, saying it was “undeniable we have slowed down recently.”

Could this be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s DAX?

More importantly, should you pull your money out of the market now before it’s too late? I would caution you not to panic. While the word, “recession,” has a stigma associated with it, the slowdown in the German economy has been apparent for some time. Bottom line is, even if we find out today that the German economy is technically in a recession, nothing will have fundamentally changed since yesterday, and trying to time the market is a risky proposition.

This Week’s Winners and Losers

WINNER first, LOSER second:  LPKF Laser & Electronics (ETR: LPK) (FRA: LPK) stock jumped 8.59% on Monday, the best one-day gain of any HDAX stock this week. But the success was short-lived. After lowering guidance for the first time in six years, the stock was the biggest HDAX loser on Tuesday, dropping 5.67%.

WINNER first, BIGGER WINNER second: Shares of Sky Deutschland (ETR: SKYD) (FRA: SKYD) went “sky-high” this week as its sister company, British pay TV group BSkyB announced it had purchased nearly 90% of the company’s outstanding shares. The stock was one of the HDAX’s biggest gainers both on Tuesday, when word of the impending announcement got out (up 1.91%, seventh-highest gain of the day), and on Wednesday with the actual deal (up 5.16%, top gain of the day).

WINNER first, LOSER second, LOSER third: No other stock on the HDAX had a bigger roller-coaster ride than integrated optoelectrics group Jenoptik AG (ETR: JEN) (FRA: JEN). On Monday, its shares were up 4.73% –  it was the fourth-best performance on the HDAX – in anticipation of its third-quarter results. But after reporting disappointing numbers, the company’s stock sold off to the tune of 5.27% on Wednesday – the worst HDAX performance of the day – and another 4% on Thursday, for the second-worst HDAX performance that day.

WINNER: Auto parts maker Hella (ETR: HLE) (FRA: HLE) had its IPO this week and shares jumped 3.8% above their initial price, despite some worries that they might follow in the footsteps of online fashion retailer Zalando (ETR: ZAL) (FRA: ZAL) or start-up incubator Rocket Internet (ETR: RKET) (FRA: RKET), both of which had disappointing IPOs in October.

Have a great weekend!

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John Bromels has no interests in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool does not own any of the above-mentioned stocks.

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