Every day this week, new data has confirmed the strength of the German economy:
MONDAY: Market research firm Markit released February data for the manufacturing sector, which comprises about 20% of the German economy. It showed sector growth accelerating in February, driven by the strongest rise in new orders in seven months. PMI rose to 51.1, slightly higher than January’s 50.9.
TUESDAY: German retail sales numbers for January were released, and the adjusted increase of 2.9% handily topped analysts’ consensus expectations of a 0.3% decline.
WEDNESDAY: Markit released February data for the services sector, which showed sector PMI rising to 55.5 from January’s 54.0, beating the consensus forecast of 54.2 and even the highest estimate of 55.0.
Every day, that is, until yesterday:
THURSDAY: A couple of clouds appeared on what initially looked like clear economic skies for Germany in 2015. Data showed that German industrial orders had dropped more than previously expected in January. A lot more. In fact, it was their biggest drop since August. Additionally, the ECB’s council on monetary policy convened in Cyprus, but economists disagreed on whether its planned money-printing program will be effective or not in combating deflation.
I don’t think, though, that there is much reason to be concerned right now. The vast majority of the data seems to indicate that Germany is doing just fine.
The Major Indices
Was it really only January that we were lamenting how the DAX just couldn’t seem to stay above 10,000? (I checked; it was) And here we are two months and 1,500 points later! The DAX stood at 11,504.01 as of Thursday’s close: a gain of 17.3% since the first of the year. For the week so far, though, index gains have been modest. The DAX, MDAX, HDAX, TecDAX and EuroStoxx 50 were all up less than a percent, while the SDAX actually gave back about half a percent. All, however, are up for the year.
This week’s TOPS and FLOPS
Shares of Airbus Group NV (ETR:AIR) (FRA:AIR) were flying high this week, after last week’s release of fantastic 2014 numbers: Net profit was up an astonishing 59% as the company recorded its highest-ever number of jet deliveries. This week brought additional news that the airplane manufacturer secured 37 new gross orders in January and February, all for its narrow-body A320 line. While this sounds great, it’s apparent to me that the A320 line is doing most of the heavy lifting for the company. I’d need to see strength from other models – particularly the superjumbo A380 – before I’d consider buying the stock.
FLOP: Commerzbank AG (ETR:CBK) (FRA:CBK) is having the worst week of the DAX so far, with shares down 1.9%. Reuters just reported that the bank, Germany’s second-largest lender, is expected to pay U.S. authorities more than $1.4 billion to settle allegations it violated U.S. sanctions. The settlement would also resolve a separate investigation stemming from the Olympus Corp accounting scandal. A spokesperson for the bank had no comment.
FLOP:Vehicle parts manufacturer ElringKlinger AG (ETR:ZIL2) (FRA:ZIL2) had the biggest one-day drop of any HDAX stock so far this week on Monday. Shares were down nearly 5.2% after the company reported strong 2014 numbers, including organic revenue growth of 11.2%. However, its outlook for 2015 was much more conservative: 5 – 7% organic revenue growth, which may have accounted for the fall in share price.
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John Bromels has no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool does not own any of the stocks mentioned.