Swiss Market Index Rises for First Time in Three Days; Nestle, Roche Gain

Stocks in Switzerland rose, with the benchmark Swiss Market Index rebounding from a two-month low, after Synthes Inc. reported higher sales and the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged to maintain low interest rates.

Synthes, the world’s largest maker of devices to mend broken and malformed bones, climbed 1 percent. Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, rallied 1.6 percent after rival Unilever reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates. Adecco SA increased 1.9 percent after the largest supplier of temporary workers had its share-price estimate raised at Bank Vontobel AG.

The SMI of the largest and most actively traded companies rose 76.47, or 1.2 percent, to 6,652.86 at 1:18 p.m. in Zurich. The gauge has gained 54 percent from a six-year low in March 2009 as the global economy emerged from recession. The broader Swiss Performance Index also advanced 1.2 percent today.

Fed policy makers yesterday restated their intention to keep interest rates near zero for an extended period, even as the labor market begins to improve.

Synthes advanced 1 percent to 127.5 Swiss francs. The company said first-quarter sales increased 13 percent to $911.7 million from a year ago.

“Synthes published a dynamic set of numbers for the first quarter and exceeded expectations,” Sibylle Bischofberger, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank, wrote in a note. “We remain convinced of the defensive qualities of the company, which comes with a healthy balance sheet, a high cash position and strong cash flow.”

Nestle, Adecco

Nestle climbed 1.6 percent to 52.60 francs. Unilever, the world’s second-largest food and detergent company, report a 33 percent increase in first-quarter profit as lower prices spurred shoppers to buy more Dove soap and Lipton tea.

Adecco, which is due to report first-quarter results next week, rose 1.9 percent to 64.25 francs. Bank Vontobel lifted its share-price estimate to 80 francs from 75 francs, citing higher earnings estimates due to improving economic conditions and a recovery of temporary staffing markets.

ABB Ltd., the world’s largest maker of electricity networks, gained 1.6 percent to 21.24 francs. Rival Siemens AG, Europe’s biggest engineering company, said full-year earnings will be higher than previously forecast after it cut jobs and demand for light bulbs and factory automation equipment rebounded.

Separately, ABB won an order worth $108 million from the Saudi Electricity Company to construct six new substations.

Roche Rises

Roche Holding AG increased 1.8 percent to 171.5 francs after the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs said its Tarceva medicine has been approved in the European Union for maintenance use in advanced lung cancer.

Separately, Roche’s taspoglutide medicine for diabetes met the main goal in a late-stage clinical study, according to Ipsen SA, Roche’s partner on the drug.

Clariant AG rose 3.6 percent to 14.74 francs. The world’s biggest maker of printing-ink chemicals raised its full-year forecasts after job cuts and a shift in production to Asia helped the company swing to profit in the first quarter. Net income totaled 6 million francs ($5.5 million) compared with a loss of 93 million francs a year earlier.

Geberit AG advanced 2.6 percent to 192.8 francs. Europe’s biggest maker of toilet-flushing systems raised its operating margin forecast after first-quarter net income increased more than 20 percent on growth in Asia and lower-raw material costs.

Panalpina, Swissquote

Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG climbed 7.1 percent to 94.5 francs. The freight forwarder reported net income attributable to shareholders of 99,000 francs in the first quarter. Analysts estimated a 16 million-franc loss.

Swissquote Group Holding AG gained 4.7 percent to 46.8 francs even after Switzerland’s largest online broker said its first-quarter net income fell 28 percent from the previous three-month period.

Nobel Biocare Holding AG declined 3.7 percent to 23.46 francs, extending yesterday’s 19 percent slump. The world’s biggest maker of dental implants had its share-price estimate cut to 24 francs from 28 francs at Credit Suisse Group AG.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniela Silberstein in Zurich at dsilberstei2@bloomberg.net.

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