Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Advance as Spain, Italy Auction Debt; Sulzer Gains

January 12, 2012

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks rose, rebounding from yesterday’s slide, as Spain and Italy sold debt at auctions and Sulzer AG reported higher orders.

Sulzer AG advanced after reporting an increase in 2011 orders. Swiss refiner Petroplus Holdings AG surged the most since its initial public offering in 2006. Meyer Burger Technology AG climbed 9.2 percent as solar stocks gained.

The SMI, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, added 0.2 percent to 6,018.07 at the close of trading in Zurich, paring yesterday’s 0.7 percent loss. The broader Swiss Performance Index increased 0.3 percent today.

Spain sold 9.98 billion euros ($12.8 billion) of government bonds maturing in 2015 and 2016 at an auction today, the nation’s Treasury said. That was almost twice its target of 5 billion euros.

Italy sold 12 billion euros of Treasury bills, meeting its target, in the country’s first debt sale of the year. The Rome- based Treasury sold 8.5 billion euros of one-year bills at a rate of 2.735 percent, down from 5.952 percent at the last auction of similar-maturity securities on Dec. 12. Investors bid for 1.47 times the amount offered, down from 1.92 times last month. Italy also sold 3.5 billion euros of 136-day bills to yield 1.644 percent.

In the U.S., a Labor Department report showed that jobless claims climbed by 24,000 to 399,000 in the week ended Jan. 7. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey had projected 375,000 claims.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales climbed 0.1 percent in December following a 0.4 percent advance in November. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent increase last month, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

Interest Rates

In the U.K., Bank of England Governor Mervyn King refrained from adding to emergency stimulus because the economy has shown some resilience heading into 2012. The central bank also kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent.

ECB policy makers meeting in Frankfurt held the euro area’s benchmark interest rate at its record low of 1 percent, as predicted by 47 of 53 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Sulzer surged 5.1 percent to 112.50 Swiss francs. The Swiss maker of pumps said full-year orders for 2011 rose 13.7 percent, or 8.4 percent nominally, from a year earlier.

Petroplus soared 16 percent to 1.39 francs, gaining for a third day. The oil refiner reached a temporary agreement with its lenders to renegotiate debt and maintain operations at its Coryton and Ingolstadt refineries.

Meyer Burger Jumps

Meyer Burger, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of the factory equipment for making solar gear, rallied 9.2 percent to 17.25 francs, its biggest gain in five months. Increased installations in Germany and the U.K. and China’s plans to double total capacity this year have driven demand for solar panels, said Aaron Chew, a Maxim Group LLC analyst in New York.

Swiss Life Holding AG jumped 5.3 percent to 88.85 francs, gaining for a third day. The insurer plans cost cuts that go beyond its 2012 targets under the Milestone program.

UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s largest banks, gained 2.4 percent to 11.39 francs and 0.9 percent to 21.68 francs respectively.

--Editors: Will Hadfield, Randall Hackley

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Toronto at astoukas@bloomberg.net

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


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