Switzerland Stocks Advance; Nobel Biocare, Swatch, Richemont Shares Gain
Swiss stocks advanced, snapping two days of declines, as pressure built on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to quit after he failed to muster an absolute majority in a routine parliamentary vote.
Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NOBN), the world’s second-biggest dental implant maker, rallied 6.9 percent after its chief executive officer said the company is “on track” to win back market share. Adecco SA (ADEN), the world’s biggest supplier of temporary workers, dropped 5.5 percent.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI), a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, advanced 0.7 percent to 5,682.65 at the close in Zurich. The gauge has rebounded 19 percent from this year’s low on Aug. 10 as policy makers increased their efforts to contain the European debt crisis. The Swiss Performance Index added 0.6 percent today.
“I think the markets are up because investors are betting on Berlusconi stepping down,” said Roland Schuermann, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank in Lucerne, Switzerland. “It would make way for something new.”
Berlusconi failed to muster an absolute majority in a vote on the 2010 budget, fueling further calls for him to resign as the nation struggles to reduce the euro area’s second-biggest debt burden. Before the vote, Berlusconi faced defections in his party that eroded his majority.
In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreou resumed talks with the opposition leader in Athens today as they moved closer to naming the premier of a national-unity government to secure outside financing and avert a collapse of the country’s economy.
Swiss consumer confidence weakened more than economists forecast in October. An index based on a quarterly survey of about 1,100 households declined to minus 24 from minus 17 in July, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said today. That’s the lowest since July 2009. Economists had forecast a drop to minus 22, according to the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Nobel Biocare rallied 6.9 percent to 11.11 francs, the biggest gain in two weeks, after third-quarter sales fell less than analysts estimated. Revenue decreased to 128.2 million euros ($177 million) from 131.7 million euros, compared with the 125.7 million-euro average estimate of 15 analysts. Expensive prosthetics sales in North America and Asia were better than expected, though in Europe such revenue was little changed, the company said.
Swatch Group AG, the world’s biggest watchmaker, jumped 1.1 percent to 367.30 francs, while Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, gained 3.3 percent to 49.39 francs.
Uster Technologies AG (USTN), the supplier of textile testing instruments, surged 11 percent to 39 francs after its board of directors rejected a takeover offer of 38 francs per share from Toyota Industries Corp., saying it undervalues the company.
Adecco sank 5.5 percent to 37.59 francs for the worst performance on the SMI even after the temporary staffing company reported third-quarter earnings that matched analysts’ estimates.
Meyer Burger Technology AG (MBTN), the biggest maker of solar panel manufacturing equipment, dropped 9.9 percent to 19.1 francs, its lowest price since September 2009, after the company said it may take a charge of as much as 60 million euros this year for impairment on goodwill for its stake in Roth & Rau AG. Bryan Garnier & Cie. analyst Julien Desmaretz cut the stock to “neutral” from “buy.”
Most of the biggest solar equipment makers may disappear in the next few years as plunging prices erode margins and drive the weakest out of the business, according to Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), the fifth-largest supplier of solar panels.
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