Swiss Stocks Rebound From Four-Week Decline; Roche Gains

Swiss stocks advanced, rebounding from the Swiss Market Index (SMI)’s longest streak of weekly losses since November, as health-care companies rallied.

Roche Holding AG (ROG), the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, added 1.2 percent. Novartis AG (NOVN) gained 0.5 percent. Kuehne & Nagel International AG, the world’s largest sea-freight forwarder, slumped 7.5 percent after first-quarter profit missed analyst estimates.

The SMI rose 0.4 percent to 6,095.08 at 2:01 p.m. in Zurich. The gauge has advanced 2.7 percent in 2012 as the euro area sought to contain its debt crisis and as U.S. economic reports surpassed estimates. The broader Swiss Performance Index gained 0.2 percent today.

“There is a sense in the markets that there was some overselling last week,” said Lorne Baring, managing director at B Capital SA in Geneva, which oversees almost $500 million. “That, along with the focus on the U.S. earnings season, has given the markets a breather. However, it would only need a minor disappointment this week as the earnings season kicks in for there to be downside risk for equity investors.”

The volume of shares changing hands in the SMI was 7 percent lower today than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crisis-Fighting Resources

European officials travel to Washington this week seeking a bigger global war chest to combat the debt crisis as Spain’s government battles to quell renewed market turmoil over its finances as the nation’s borrowing costs soared to the highest levels this year. Crisis-fighting resources will dominate talks at the International Monetary Fund’s spring meeting in Washington from April 20-22.

The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds increased by nine basis points to 6.05 percent. The nation’s debt risk climbed to a record for a second day, according to credit-default swap prices from CMA.

“The bond market is shaky,” Baring said. “It’s unusual to see stress in bond markets, but a steady stock market. We may see later on either one of the markets changing direction, and it’s quite possible it will be the equity market following the bond market.”

In the U.S., a report at 8:30 a.m. New York time may show that retail sales in the world’s largest economy rose 0.3 percent in March after a 1.1 percent advance the previous month, according to the median forecast of 71 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. A separate report may show manufacturing in the New York region grew.

Roche Rises

Roche gained 1.2 percent to 158.80 Swiss francs. Der Sonntag reported the company started research on vaccines for AIDS, tuberculosis and Hepatitis C in early April, citing spokeswoman Claudia Schmitt.

Novartis, a Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker, increased 0.5 percent to 50.10 francs.

Swatch Group AG (UHR), the world’s biggest watchmaker, rose 1.7 percent to 426.80 francs and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, increased 1.6 percent to 56.50 francs. Citigroup Inc. rated the luxury sector a “structural buy,” citing potential for material earnings upgrades later this year from revenue beats.

Burkhalter Holding AG (BRKN) jumped 5.5 percent to 273.50 francs, its highest price since June 2011. Switzerland’s biggest electrical installations company said 2011 profit was 21.7 million francs, up from 19.1 million francs a year earlier. The company also said it will pay a dividend of 16 francs a share, adding it is “optimistic” for 2012.

Kuehne & Nagel

Kuehne & Nagel slumped 7.5 percent to 110.20 francs, the largest drop since July, after reporting results it said were “unsatisfactory.” The company posted first-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 218 million francs, missing the average analyst estimate of 225.4 million francs.

“Market conditions for freight forwarders remain challenging with global trade volumes below historic averages and continued pressure on yields,” Michael Foeth, an analyst at Vontobel Holding Ag, wrote in a note to clients today. “The benefits of Kuehne & Nagel’s growth strategy continues to reflect in high volume growth, but at a cost which depresses margins.”

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, slipped 1 percent to 23.37 francs after Der Sonntag reported the lender may have to cut 5,000 jobs, citing an unidentified high- ranking executive who said Credit Suisse’s investment bank is “simply oversized.”

UBS AG (UBSN) fell 1.4 percent to 11.36 francs and Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN) declined 1.9 percent to 97.55 francs. Baloise Holding AG slipped 1.6 percent to 68.70 francs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

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

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

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.