(Corrects headline and first paragraph of story originally published on Dec. 3 to show index closed at the highest in 31 months.)
Swiss stocks advanced to a 31-month high as data showed manufacturing in China increased and Greece said it will spend 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to buy back bonds issued earlier this year.
Transocean Ltd. (RIGN) rose 0.8 percent after a report that shares may jump once it resolves claims linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN) fell 2.4 percent after the stock was downgraded at Bank of America Corp.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) added 0.3 percent to 6,838.70 at the close of trading in Zurich, after earlier rising as much as 0.8 percent. The equity benchmark rose 1.6 percent last week, for a 3.4 percent gain in November amid optimism the U.S. Congress will agree on a new budget. The Swiss Performance Index increased 0.2 percent today.
“The markets are quite rightly saying the European situation is not as disastrous as it looked six months, 12 months ago; there’s really been a transformation,” Giles Keating, head of research for private banking and asset management at Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), said on Bloomberg Television. “Whether we look at Europe or indeed stocks generally around the world, we are still in a position where the world economy is expanding.”
China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index, a gauge of the manufacturing industry, advanced to 50.6 in November, the highest reading in seven months, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said on Dec. 1. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
A separate survey by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics, which focuses on smaller businesses, also showed that activity increased last month.
European stocks pared gains after the U.S. Institute for Supply Management reported its factory index fell to 49.5 in November from 51.7 a month earlier. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a reading of 51.4 for November, according to the median of 83 forecasts.
“The disappointing manufacturing numbers have put a cooling on markets that begin the week in the face of clouded U.S. fiscal talks,” said Daniel Weston, a porfolio manager at Aimed Capital Management LLC in Munich.
Swiss manufacturing output contracted in November less than economists had projected. The procure.ch Purchasing Managers’ Index advanced to 48.5 from 46.1 in October, when adjusted for seasonal swings, Credit Suisse Group AG said. Economists forecast a gain to 47, the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Greece offered to buy back bonds as it attempts to cut a debt load that may threaten future international aid payments.
The Mediterranean country invited holders of bonds to tender their securities in a so-called modified Dutch auction, the Athens-based Public Debt Management Agency said in a statement today on its website.
Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the possibility that Germany will ultimately accept a write-off of Greek debt.
Merkel told Bild newspaper yesterday that euro-area leaders might consider writing off debt once the country has a budget surplus. Germany has until now ruled out such a scenario as violating European Union treaties.
Transocean advanced 0.8 percent to 42.76 Swiss francs, after earlier rising as much as 3.2 percent. The world’s biggest offshore driller may rise 30 percent or more once it resolves claims linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Barron’s reported over the weekend, citing estimates by sJerry Furciniti of QCI Asset Management.
SGS SA (SGSN), the world’s largest industrial-inspection company, added 1.2 percent to 2,104 francs, its fifth day of gains.
Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) , Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, advanced 0.8 percent to 32 francs.
Swiss Life, Switzerland’s largest life insurer, dropped 2.4 percent to 121 francs. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit downgraded the stock to underperform, the equivalent of a sell rating, from neutral.
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