Swiss Stocks Rise Before ECB Loan Allocation: Banks Gain

Swiss stocks rose for the first time in four days before the European Central Bank releases details on the latest round of long-term funding to banks.

UBS AG and Credit Suisse (CSGN) AG, Switzerland’s two largest lenders, climbed. Holcim Ltd. rallied 1.5 percent after the world’s second-largest cement maker forecast higher earnings.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI), a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, gained 0.2 percent to 6,138.67 at 9:50 a.m. in Zurich, heading for a 2.8 percent monthly gain. The broader Swiss Performance Index also rose 0.2 percent today. UBS (UBSN) advanced 0.9 percent to 12.79 francs and Credit Suisse increased 0.7 percent to 24.79 francs before the ECB allots its second Long-Term Refinancing Operation at 11:15 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Banks are expected to ask for 470 billion euros ($633 billion), according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. They took 489 billion euros at the first tender in December.

Holcim (HOLN) gained 1.5 percent to 59.20 francs after it forecast higher 2012 earnings as fourth-quarter profit increased on demand for cement and aggregates.

Operating earnings before interest and taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 5.3 percent to 987 million francs ($1.33 billion) in the quarter. Sales rose 3.9 percent to 5.28 billion francs, beating the average analyst estimate of 4.93 billion francs in a Bloomberg survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

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

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