Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Jump as Central Bank Imposes Ceiling on Franc Rate

September 06, 2011

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks jumped, rebounding from their largest two-day drop since March 2009, after the central bank set a ceiling on the franc’s exchange rate for the first time in more than three decades.

Swatch Group AG, the world’s biggest maker of watches, rallied 4.3 percent. Transocean Ltd., the largest offshore oil driller, soared 12 percent. Novartis AG, Europe’s biggest drugmaker, surged 6.8 percent.

The Swiss Market Index, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, rallied 4.4 percent to 5,367.24 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich. The gauge has still tumbled 20 percent from this year’s high on Feb. 18 amid speculation that the franc’s strength will curb exports and the global economic recovery will stall. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 4 percent today.

The minimum franc exchange rate is “positive for exporters with a domestic production like watchmakers, chemical makers and the asset-management industries,” said Thomas Haerter, chief strategist at Swisscanto Asset Management AG in Zurich, who helps oversee about $67 billion.

The franc weakened as much as 9.9 percent against the euro as the Swiss National Bank set a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 per euro and said it will defend the target with the “utmost determination” if needed.

Swatch Soars

Swatch surged 4.3 percent to 346.30 francs, after earlier gaining as much as 7.6 percent. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, which sells Cartier watches and Mont Blanc pens and gets more than 95 percent of sales outside Switzerland, rose 4.5 percent to 43.87 francs.

Transocean soared 12 percent to 44.50 francs, its largest advance since April 2010.

Novartis AG surged 6.8 percent to 47.47 francs, its biggest gain in almost three years, as Morgan Stanley analyst Peter Verdult said the Swiss drugmaker will be “a winner” in the market to produce lower-cost copies of biologic medicines made from living cells, so-called biosimilar treatments.

Adecco SA, the world’s biggest supplier of temporary workers, gained 2.6 percent to 32.98 francs.

Syngenta AG added jumped 5.2 percent to 251 francs as Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. raised its recommendation to “market perform” from “underperform.” Lonza Group AG, the world’s biggest maker of drug ingredients, rose 2.9 percent to 49.31 francs.

--Editor: Will Hadfield

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Levring in Copenhagen at plevring1@bloomberg.net

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


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