Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Rise on U.S. Home Price Report; Swatch Gains

May 29, 2012

Swiss stocks rose, extending their first weekly advance this month, after a report showed U.S. home prices fell in the 12 months ended March at the slowest pace in more than a year.

Swatch Group AG (UHR), the world’s largest watchmaker, and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA (CFR), the owner of the Cartier brand, climbed at least 4 percent each. Clariant AG (CLN) and Syngenta AG gained more than 2 percent, following European chemical shares higher. Dufry AG (DUFN), an operator of duty-free shops, jumped 3.2 percent as CA Cheuvreux recommended buying the stock.

The Swiss Market Inded (SMI) added 0.8 percent to 5,914.73 at the close in Zurich. The Swiss market was closed yesterday. The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 25 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 0.9 percent today.

“There’s hope that there’s an improvement on the U.S. real-estate market front,” said John Plassard, a director at Louis Capital Markets LP in Geneva. “Despite some news that denies economic stimulus in China, the hope and expectations for such stimulus are being given much more weight. At the same time, volatility remains high with respect to Spain, which markets see as taking over Greece’s case.”

U.S. Property Market

Home values in 20 U.S. cities fell in the 12 months ended March at the slowest pace in more than a year as lower borrowing costs and an improving job market gave sales a boost.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 2.6 percent from a year earlier after a 3.5 percent drop in February, the group reported today in New York. The decline matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The index rose from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

A separate report showed the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index unexpectedly fell in May to 64.9 from a revised 68.7 in the previous month, the lowest level in four months. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a reading of 69.6.

Swiss stocks briefly pared gains after Xinhua News Agency reported China has no intention of introducing a large-scale stimulus plan in response to this year’s economic slowdown like it did during the global financial crisis.

The stimulus will probably range from 1 trillion yuan ($158 billion) to 2 trillion yuan, half the size of 2008’s package, Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) said yesterday.

In Switzerland, a gauge of consumer demand rose to the highest since June last year, UBS AG said. The consumption indicator, which signals developments about three months ahead, advanced to 1.41 points from a revised 1.20 points in March.

Swatch, Richemont

Swatch climbed 5 percent to 384.40 Swiss francs. The company will forgo price increases in the short term as it wants to win market share and increase volumes, Finanz und Wirtschaft reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek.

Richemont climbed 4.2 percent to 57.75 francs.

Clariant AG, the world’s largest maker of printing-ink chemicals, rose 2.1 percent to 10.41 francs after Berenberg Bank said the company may see an upside surprise on the divestment of its non-core business.

Syngenta AG (SYNN), the world’s biggest supplier of agricultural chemicals, gained 3.6 percent to 315.20 francs as a gauge of European chemical companies was among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Dufry rose 3.2 percent to 113.70 francs after Cheuvreux raised the stock to outperform, the equivalent of buy, from underperform.

Kudelski SA, the world’s largest maker of security cards for pay television, gained 3.2 percent to 7.42 francs after Reto Amstalden, an analyst at Helvea AG, upgraded the company’s shares to accumulate from neutral.

Swissmetal Holding AG (SMET) rallied 31 percent to 1.52 francs after it said it’s in talks with several parties over a sale. Chinese privately owned industrial group Baoshida Holding is interested in buying the company, Basler Zeitung reported, citing unnamed staff members.

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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