(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s equity benchmark was set to turn positive for the year on Tuesday, among the first equity indexes in Europe to fully recoup coronavirus-induced losses, as European Union leaders agreed on a landmark stimulus package.
The DAX Index was up 1.6% in early trading, set to reverse a 2020 drop that had reached 38% in March, its fastest-ever recovery. That also leaves the benchmark just 4% away from its record high. Among the main stock markets in Europe, only Sweden and Denmark have fared better this year, while all the other major indexes remain in the red.
The gain comes after European Union leaders agreed on a landmark stimulus package that will see the bloc issue 750 billion euros ($860 billion) of joint debt to help member states mitigate the economic downturn.
“The DAX is now flat for the year because in the long run it does matter that Germany and its economy should come out of the crisis better than many others,” Andre Koppers, a portfolio manager at Oberbanscheidt & Cie, said by email. German stocks also benefit from being among the most liquid in Europe and hence move disproportionately. “That hurt a lot in March and feels pretty good today,” Koppers said.
While the DAX is showing a V-shaped rebound from its low just four months ago, it took about a year to erase a slump of 29% through February 2016, and four years to recover from the aftermath of the global financial crisis.
Read more: German Stocks Are the Priciest in More Than 15 Years Amid Crisis
Giving shares a strong boost this time around are unprecedented fiscal stimulus measures to support the economy as it gradually reopens. Germany has given up on its balanced budget stance, making more than 1.3 trillion euros available to cushion the impact of the coronavirus, by far the most in the EU.
A strong rotation into cyclical shares has also boosted the DAX in recent months, with automakers and banks in particular outperforming.
Deutsche Bank AG is the top performer this year, up 31% as the shares also benefit from short covering and renewed hopes that the lender can finally create shareholder value. Fresenius Medical Care AG, Deutsche Boerse AG and SAP SE are also among the biggest gainers, reflecting a Europe-wide flight to quality stocks.
The strong recovery of Germany’s prime benchmark is only tainted by Wirecard AG, down 98% after the collapse of the payment company, an embarrassment for the German establishment.
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