Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Advance as U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fall

March 01, 2012

Stocks in Switzerland rose, snapping four days of declines, as Adecco SA reported earnings that beat forecasts and a report showed U.S. initial jobless claims fell last week.

Adecco jumped 8.5 percent as the world’s largest provider of temporary workers also increased its dividend by 64 percent. Holcim Ltd. (HOLN) advanced to its highest in more than seven weeks.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI), a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, rose 18.35, or 0.3 percent, to 6,128.28 at the close in Zurich. The gauge has advanced 3.2 percent so far this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.3 percent today.

“The economic data from the U.S. has been good to mixed,” said Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads in London. “The good news is that even though they’re mixed today, there aren’t any shocks in the numbers and the outlook for the economy is still relatively bullish.”

U.S. initial jobless claims fell 2,000 to 351,000 in the week through Feb. 25, matching a four-year low reached in early February and signaling that the world’s largest economy is maintaining its recovery. Economists forecast an increase to 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

Swiss Economy

Switzerland’s gross domestic product grew 0.1 percent from the third quarter, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said. Economists forecast a contraction of 0.1 percent, the median of 20 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Exports of goods and services rose 1.2 percent from the third quarter, and investment including construction increased 2.5 percent.

The economic data “shows a moderate growth dynamic in Switzerland,” said Alessandro Fezzi, a senior market analyst at LGT Capital Management AG in Pfaeffikon near Zurich. “Compared to the really difficult surroundings, it is still in quite good shape,” he said.

U.S. manufacturing grew at a slower pace than forecast in February. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 52.4 from 54.1 in January. Economists estimated a gain to 54.5, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Readings above 50 signal growth.

A Commerce Department release showed American personal spending increased 0.2 percent in January and incomes rose 0.3 percent. The data missed economists’ projections.

Borrowing Costs

Spain and France sold 12.5 billion euros ($16.7 billion) of bonds as the European Central Bank’s loans of 529.5 billion euros to lenders yesterday helped boost demand and pushed borrowing costs lower.

China’s manufacturing rose for a third month in February. The purchasing managers’ index rose to 51 from 50.5 in January, the highest level since September.

Adecco SA (ADEN) surged 8.5 percent to 49.18 Swiss francs, the biggest increase since October 2008. The company raised its dividend to 1.80 francs ($1.99) a share and reported a fourth- quarter net income of 133 million euros ($177 million), exceeding analyst estimates of 119.3 million euros.

Holcim, the world’s second-biggest cement maker, advanced 3.2 percent to 60.90 francs, extending its gains in the last three days to 4.6 percent. The company yesterday posted full- year sales that beat analysts’ estimates.

ABB Ltd. (ABBN), the world’s biggest power-grid supplier, added 0.8 percent to 18.66 francs after earlier gaining as much as 1.4 percent.

Zurich Financial Services AG (ZURN), Switzerland’s biggest insurer, gained 1 percent to 230.10 francs. The company appointed Urban Angehrn as head of alternative investments today.

Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the Switzerland-based owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, slid 1 percent to 47.73 francs.

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) was little changed at 24.30 francs after earlier falling as much as 2.2 percent as it increased its stake in Hellenic Bank, Cyprus’s third-largest lender.

To contact the reporter on this story: Namitha Jagadeesh in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at

Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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