Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Climb; Syngenta, Swatch, Richemont Shares Advance

June 21, 2011

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks climbed for the first time in five days on speculation that the European Union will find a way to resolve Greece’s debt crisis.

Syngenta AG, the world’s biggest producer of crop- protection chemicals, rose 3.6 percent. Swatch Group AG, the maker Omega watches, and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, which makes Montblanc pens, both jumped more than 3 percent. Weatherford International Ltd. increased 2.8 percent after the settling claims for its role in last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The Swiss Market Index of the biggest and most actively traded companies gained 0.9 percent to 6,171.01 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich. Even so, the measure has declined 8.1 percent since its high this year on Feb. 18, as U.S. manufacturing and jobs reports fueled concern that the recovery in the world’s largest economy is faltering and as investors speculated that Greece will default on its debt. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 1 percent today.

“There’s a chance that there will be some sort of an agreement by mid-July,” said Dieter Buchholz, head of equities at Falcon Bank Ltd. in Zurich. “Then we could see an improvement in market sentiment.”

Tonight’s confidence vote for Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou may determine whether Greece becomes the first euro- area country to default and caps a week of turmoil for Papandreou, who has fended off a revolt from within his ruling Pasok party. EU leaders have insisted that the Greek prime minister secure multiparty support for austerity measures.

S&P reaffirmed that it will probably treat a voluntary debt restructuring for Greece as a default, Moritz Kraemer, its head of European sovereign ratings told German newspaper Die Welt.

U.S. Economy

Swiss stocks extended their gains after a measure of U.S. home sales met economists’ estimates. Purchases of existing homes in May fell 3.8 percent to a 4.81 million annual pace, in line with the 4.8 million median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

The Federal Reserve, which begins a two-day meeting today in Washington, is forecast to keep interest rates near zero.

Syngenta jumped 3.6 percent to 278.90 Swiss francs after saying that sales growth in the second quarter has been “robust.” The company also forecast that sales of pesticides, seeds and other products to its crop markets will more than double to $17 billion after 2015 from $8 billion now.

Swatch surged 3.2 percent to 405.20 francs and Cie. Financiere Richemont soared 3.9 percent to 53.10 francs.

Weatherford, Sika

Weatherford gained 2.8 percent to 14.65 francs after the company said it agreed to pay BP Plc $75 million to cover its liability for any current or future claims from the spill, which was the world’s largest accidental slick. The company will fund the settlement from insurance policies it held at the time of the accident.

Sika AG, Europe’s biggest maker of chemicals used in construction, climbed 2.8 percent to 2,034 francs after the company announced that Jan Jenisch will succeed Ernst Baertschi as chief executive officer.

“As Sika’s board of directors has taken exactly half a year to decide who will be the next CEO and was never in a hurry, we assume it has now chosen the best candidate,” wrote Patrick Appenzeller, an analyst at Helvea AG, in a note to clients today.

Logitech International SA, the world’s biggest maker of computer mice, rose 2.1 percent to 9.66 francs as a gauge of technology companies was among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, rising 2.1 percent.

Basilea dropped 1.4 percent to 66.40 francs after Andrew Weiss, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, lowered his price estimate for the company to 76 francs from 80 francs.

--Editor: Will Hadfield

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net.


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