Robust quarterly figures and a positive outlook presented by the world's largest reinsurer, Munich Re, was enough to trigger a change in mood on the German market on Thursday.
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Blue chips started the session in slightly negative territory, following the poor leads provided by the U.S. markets from the previous day. But a change in trend emerged after Munich Re published its results and the latest GDP data for the euro-zone came out unexpectedly positive.
By midday, any gains started to slacken again as investors awaited the next set of economic data from the U.S. The Dax-30 leading-share index eventually closed trading 0.4% higher at 4,936.
The day's strongest performer was Munich Re which ended the session up nearly 4%. It also headed the winners in the Euro-Stoxx-50. "The share has lost considerable ground over the past two weeks, and many market operators used the quarterly results as an opportunity to change to the buyers' side," one trader said.
The Siemens family was again among the day's losers. The parent, like its subsidiaries Infineon and Epcos, lost more than 3% intraday, though it was able to recoup some of the losses towards the evening to close just 1.45% lower. Infineon and Epcos ended the session with losses of around 2%.
The imminent insolvency of energy trading giant Enron in the United States also occupied the minds of traders in Frankfurt because numerous European banks, including Deutsche Bank, are said to have extended credits to the group, which they now may have to write off.
Deutsche said Thursday that in the event of Enron's insolvency it would incur a maximum loss of a two-digit million US dollar sum. Its shares lost 1.67% to close at 71.90 euros. Commerzbank and HypoVereinsbank also tended lighter.
The M-Dax for Germany's 70 leading mid-caps was virtually unchanged at 4,236.56