Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Rise as Bernanke Doesn’t Rule out Stimulus

August 31, 2012

Swiss stocks rose, rebounding from a one-month low, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he would not rule out further bond purchases to boost the world’s largest economy.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) and UBS AG (UBSN) paced advancing shares, as both banks climbed more than 1 percent. Roche Holding AG gained as the drugmaker topped Barclays Plc’s industry list in Europe. Holcim Ltd. also climbed as Davy Stockbrokers upgraded the cement maker.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) rose 0.2 percent to 6,388.01 at the close in Zurich, leaving the gauge down 1.4 percent this week and 0.2 percent lower in August. The SMI has still climbed 12 percent from this year’s low on June 4 amid speculation that central banks will take more measures to bolster growth. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.2 percent today.

“Markets remain torn between deteriorating fundamentals and non-stop support from governments and central banks,” said Lex van Dam, who manages $500 million at Hampstead Capital LLC in London. “Bernanke and others keep repeating themselves by saying that they will do everything in their power to support the markets when the economy weakens.”

Bernanke, speaking at annual forum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, said additional asset purchases are an option as policy makers consider further steps to bring down an unemployment rate exceeding 8 percent that he called a “grave concern.”

Asset Purchases

His speech came two weeks before he leads a meeting of the FOMC to decide whether an expansion of stimulus is needed. The Fed has so far undertaken two rounds of large-scale asset purchases totaling $2.3 trillion.

Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, climbed 3.2 percent to 18.44 Swiss francs, snapping a three-day retreat, while larger rival UBS advanced 1.2 percent to 10.68 francs.

Roche gained 0.8 percent to 173.80 francs as Barclays named the drugmaker a “top pick” among European pharmaceutical companies, along with Dublin-based Shire Plc.

Holcim (HOLN) also climbed 0.8 percent to 58.55 francs as Davy raised its recommendation for the cement maker to neutral from underperform, saying the company will deliver “strong” third- quarter results.

Santhera Pharmaceutical Holding AG (SANN) declined 1.2 percent to 3.97 francs after the drugmaker posted a first-half net loss and said it’s in talks to extend financing of its operations.

Mindset Holding AG (MIND) plunged by a record 84 percent to 34 centimes. The designer of electric sports cars filed for bankruptcy after failing to secure financing, it said in a statement today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

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


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