Swiss Stocks Rally; UBS, Credit Suisse, Schulthess Group Climb

Swiss stocks advanced, led by the nation’s banks, as oil fell for the first time in three days, while investors awaited a report that may show German factory orders rebounded in January.

UBS AG (UBSN) gained 1.3 percent and Credit Suisse increased 1.5 percent. Schulthess Group (SGRN), the maker of washing machines and heat pumps, rose 7.6 percent after 2010 profit beat analysts’ estimates.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) of the biggest and most actively traded companies climbed 0.7 percent to 6,540.82 at 10:02 a.m. in Zurich. The gauge has added 1.6 percent this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index gained 0.7 percent.

Oil fell for the first time in three days as speculation that fighting may subside in Libya eased concern that supply cuts will spread through the Middle East.

In Germany, factory orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, climbed 2.5 percent from December, when they slid 3.4 percent, the Economy Ministry will probably say at 12 p.m. in Berlin today, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, rallied 1.3 percent to 18.19 Swiss francs. The shares have still fallen 3.9 percent since Feb. 18.

Smaller rival Credit Suisse added 1.4 percent to 41 francs. JPMorgan Chase & Co. said today it prefers Swiss investment banks for reasons including their “resilient private banking exposure,” Kian Abouhossein, analyst at JPMorgan wrote in a note to clients.

Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER), the 121-year-old wealth manager, gained 1.5 percent to 41.05 francs.

Schulthess surged 7.6 percent to 49.85 francs, the highest price since April 2010. The Wolfhausen, Switzerland-based company reported full-year net income of 18 million francs ($25 million), beating the 16.5 million franc consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Schulthess forecast a year of “encouraging prospects.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Zurich at gbroom@bloomberg.net.

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

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