Most stocks in Switzerland climbed, halting three days of losses for the Swiss Market Index (SMI), as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank is prepared to take additional action to support the economy.
UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switzerland’s biggest banks, gained at least 0.9 percent. ABB Ltd. (ABBN), the world’s largest maker of power-transmission gear, increased 2.2 percent. Logitech International SA (LOGN), the biggest maker of computer mice, dropped to its lowest level in nine years.
The SMI, a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, rose 0.2 percent to 6,025.23 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich as almost three stocks advanced for each that fell. The gauge has tumbled 10 percent since its February high as U.S. manufacturing and job reports missed forecasts and concern grew that the European debt crisis is spreading. The broader Swiss Performance Index also increased 0.2 percent today.
“We are seeing a bit of a recovery after two days of heavy losses, but investors still seem hesitant to re-enter the market even though there are some good opportunities around,” Marc Hofmann, a sales trader at Kepler Capital Markets SA, said. “The market will experience another setback as there are no signs yet of a good solution for the debt crisis.”
Bernanke told Congress that the U.S. central bank is prepared to take additional action, including buying more government bonds, if the economy appears to be in danger of stalling.
‘Prepared to Respond’
“The possibility remains that the recent economic weakness may prove more persistent than expected and that deflationary risks might reemerge, implying a need for additional policy support,” Bernanke said in prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. “The Federal Reserve remains prepared to respond should economic developments indicate that an adjustment of monetary policy would be appropriate.”
China’s economy and industrial output expanded more than analysts had predicted. The country’s gross domestic product rose 9.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said in Beijing today. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 18 economists called for GDP to climb 9.3 percent. Industrial output advanced 15.1 percent in June, its largest gain since May 2010.
Ireland joined Portugal and Greece as the third euro-area nation to have its credit rating reduced to below investment grade as European Union finance ministers struggled to contain the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.
Ireland Debt Downgrade
Moody’s cut Ireland to Ba1 from Baa3 late yesterday, saying that Ireland may need additional financing from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. The ratings firm also said that investors may have to share in losses before Ireland can return to the private market to borrow.
UBS climbed 0.9 percent to 14.12 Swiss francs after Morgan Stanley analysts including Huw van Steenis named the lender as one of their most preferred banks. Credit Suisse gained 1.2 percent to 30.93 francs.
ABB increased 2.2 percent to 21.58 francs. A gauge of European industrial goods and services companies was among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index today, rising 1.7 percent.
Kuehne + Nagel International AG, the world’s largest sea- freight forwarder, gained 1.4 percent to 119.70 francs. Adecco SA (ADEN), the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers, rose 1.6 percent to 52.65 francs, the most in almost two weeks.
Logitech dropped 2.9 percent to 8.46 francs, the stock’s lowest price since October 2002.
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