Swiss Stocks Fluctuate; Gategroup, Sika Slide, Swiss Re Rises in Zurich

Swiss stocks were little changed as gains in Adecco SA and Swiss Reinsurance Co. offset losses in Gategroup Holding AG and Sika AG.

Adecco gained after a report showed higher-than-expected job creation in the U.S. Swiss Reinsurance Co. rose after analysts recommended the stock. Gategroup fell 1.5 percent after it sold shares, while Sika slipped after saying its gross profit remains under pressure.

The Swiss Market Index slipped 0.1 percent to 6,587.72 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich, paring the gain this week to 1.8 percent. The gauge has advanced 11 percent since July as investors speculated that policy makers in the U.S. and elsewhere will seek to stimulate economic growth through bond purchases, a strategy known as quantitative easing. The broader Swiss Performance Index also fell 0.1 percent today.

Employment in the U.S. rose in October for the first time in five months, a sign businesses may be starting to gain confidence in the prospects for a faster pace of growth.

Nonfarm payrolls climbed 151,000, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists and following a revised 41,000 drop the prior month that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Private payrolls expanded the most since April, while the jobless rate held at 9.6 percent.

“One positive NFP is good news but we would have to see several months of significant job creations to change the Fed’s minds,” Philippe Meyer and Carole Laulhere, economists at Societe Generale SA, wrote in a report after the payrolls release.

Adecco, Swiss Re

Adecco, the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers, rose 0.8 percent to 58.7 francs.

Swiss Re climbed 0.4 percent to 50.7 francs, extending yesterday’s 6.4 percent jump. Vontobel Holding AG added the world’s second-largest reinsurer to its “Alpha List” of large- cap stocks.

Helvea raised the stock to “buy” from “accumulate” after Swiss Re reported Nov. 4 that quarterly profit doubled and it agreed to repay the capital injected last year by Warren Buffett.

Transocean Ltd. advanced 0.6 percent to 61.65 francs after Vontobel raised its price estimate for the drilling contractor to 70 francs a share from 65 francs.

“Day rates and utilization rates have stabilized in the offshore rig industry and there is a good chance of increasing market dynamics in 2011 should the oil price continue to trend upwards,” Vontobel analyst Fabian Haecki said in a note.

Gategroup slipped 1.5 percent to 44.8 Swiss francs, paring yesterday’s increase as the Zurich-based company specializing in catering and hospitality services for airlines completed the share sale that it announced on Sept. 30, raising 219.3 million francs ($228.6 million) from existing and new investors.

Sika, Europe’s biggest maker of chemicals used in construction, slumped 3.7 percent to 1,900 francs. The company predicted that gross profit will remain under pressure this quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Ewing in Stockholm at aewing5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Merritt at dmerritt1@bloomberg.net.

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