July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Switzerland rose for the first time in four days after Novartis AG, Europe’s second- largest drugmaker, reported profit that beat analyst estimates.
Novartis, the maker of the Diovan blood pressure treatment, climbed 3.2 percent. Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, rose 1.5 percent after saying it will acquire MTM Laboratories AG, a maker of tests for cervical cancer. Lonza Group AG, a supplier to drug companies, gained 1 percent.
The benchmark Swiss Market Index, a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, climbed 1.2 percent to 5,896.55 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich. The gauge has tumbled 12 percent since this year’s high on Feb. 18 as U.S. manufacturing and jobs reports fueled concern that the recovery is faltering and as investors speculated that Greece will default on its debt. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 1.1 percent.
European Union government chiefs plan to meet for the second time in a month on July 21, aiming to break a deadlock over a new Greek rescue that has spooked investors. Spanish and Italian bonds yields surged yesterday, increasing pressure on officials to end the turmoil.
“The markets expect to see at least a demonstration of unity,” Thomas Haerter, chief strategist at Swisscanto Asset Management AG, said by telephone. “If there would be some kind of solution in the foreseeable future -- say, in one or two months -- then markets will take a rosier view and financial stocks will rise quite a bit.”
Novartis climbed 1.56 Swiss francs to 51.05 francs, the biggest gain in three months, after the company said that second-quarter profit rose 29 percent, boosted by its Alcon eye- care division.
Roche rose 2 francs to 138 francs after announcing the purchase of MTM Laboratories.
“The acquisition has broadened Roche’s technology platform in cervical cancer testing,” Andrew Weiss, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a note to clients today.
Logitech International SA, the world’s biggest maker of computer mice, jumped 5.8 percent to 8.33 francs after International Business Machines Corp. reported earnings that beat estimates and boosted its forecast. Temenos Group AG, a banking-software maker, surged 4.6 percent to 18.25 francs.
Holcim Ltd., the world’s second-biggest cement maker, gained 1.7 percent to 55.60 francs as Patrick Appenzeller, an analyst at Helvea AG, said he remains “confident” about the company’s earnings growth prospects through 2012.
ABB Ltd., the world’s biggest maker of power-transmission gear, rose 1.1 percent to 20.40 francs. The company said it won orders worth $144 million from the Saudi Electricity Company to construct new substations and upgrade existing ones.
Lonza Group gained 1 percent to 66.95 francs after announcing a contract to produce Immune Pharmaceutical’s Bertilimumab treatment, under development for the potential treatment of inflammatory disorders.
--Editors: Thomas Mulier, Sara Marley
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