Swiss Stocks Fluctuate; Lonza, Bucher Advance in Zurich Trading

Swiss stocks swung between gains and losses after Portugal’s Prime Minister resigned, pushing the country closer to an international bailout.

Lonza Group AG (LONN), the maker of chemicals for drug companies, increased 1.4 percent for the biggest gain in the Swiss Market Index. (SMI) Bucher Industries AG (BUCN), the world’s biggest maker of feed- mixing equipment, rose after announcing an acquisition.

The SMI of the biggest and most actively traded companies lost less than 0.1 percent to 6,252.76 at 10:22 a.m. in Zurich. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped less than 0.1 percent.

Jose Socrates tendered his resignation yesterday as Portugal’s Prime Minister after plans to cut the budget were rejected by parliament, pushing the country closer to an international bailout.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva said late yesterday he will meet the main parties on March 25 and the government will retain its powers until he accepts Socrates’s resignation. The vote came hours before European Union leaders meet in Brussels to sign off on measures aimed at drawing a line under the region’s sovereign debt crisis.

In the U.S. orders for durable goods probably climbed in February for a second month, pointing to production gains that will keep driving the U.S. recovery, economists said before a report today.

Durable-goods bookings increased 1.2 percent last month after a 3.2 percent gain in January, according to the median projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Another report may show jobless claims were little changed last week.

Lonza rallied 1.4 percent to 76.40 Swiss francs. The company has climbed 6 percent in the last 6 days of trading.

Bucher Climbs

Bucher advanced 4.3 percent to 205.40 francs. The company is acquiring Hutchinson, Kansas-based Krause Corporation, Bucher said in a statement.

Petroplus Holding AG dropped 1.9 percent to 15.30 francs. Credit Suisse Group AG decreased its price estimate for the Zug, Switzerland-based company. Simple refining margins are “challenging,” Thomas Adolff, an analyst at the bank, wrote in a report today. “Complex refiners will be better positioned,” he wrote.

Gottex Fund Management Holdings Ltd. (GFMN) sank 8.2 percent to 6.61 francs after reporting a loss of $3 million.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.