Swiss stocks advanced for the first time in three days as reports showed that German economic growth slowed last quarter less than forecast, while U.S. retail sales rebounded in July.
Geberit AG (GEBN), Europe’s biggest maker of toilet-flushing systems, rose 3 percent to its highest price since February, on better-than-estimated second-quarter earnings. Galenica AG increased 3.1 percent as the drug wholesaler raised its 2012 profit outlook. Julius Baer (BAER) Group Ltd. lost 3.8 percent.
The benchmark Swiss Market Index (SMI) rose 0.6 percent to 6,505.98 in Zurich. The gauge has climbed 14 percent from its lowest level this year on June 4 as central banks took steps to bolster the global economy. The broader Swiss Performance Index also gained 0.6 percent today.
“Slightly better-than-expected economic data in Europe is supporting investors’ cautiously positive sentiment in the short term,” said Alessandro Fezzi, senior market analyst at LGT Capital Management AG in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland. “The moderate risk-on sentiment is carried by expectations of further central- bank measures in the near future. But the question remains if additional stimulus will be able to kick start the economies.”
The volume of shares changing hands on SMI-listed companies was 41 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In Germany, second-quarter gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent from the first quarter, when it gained 0.5 percent, the Federal Statistics Office said. Economists had predicted a 0.2 percent increase, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. French GDP was unchanged in the quarter, better than the 0.1 percent decline economists had forecast.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed that retail sales rose in July more than economists had predicted. The 0.8 percent increase in purchases followed a 0.7 percent drop in June that was weaker than first reported. Economists had projected a 0.3 percent gain, according to the median estimate of 85 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.
“Economic data will probably continue to show a mixed picture, confirming a continuously modest growth trend for the global economy,” Fezzi said.
Geberit advanced 3 percent to 198.50 Swiss francs, its highest price since Feb. 20. The company reported second-quarter earnings before interest and taxes of 132.4 million francs ($136 million), exceeding the average projection by analysts for 122.8 million francs.
Galenica (GALN) climbed 3.1 percent to 577 francs, after increasing its full-year profit forecast. The company said in March that 2012 profit would be unchanged. First-half net income rose 13 percent to 119.6 million francs, and sales advanced 2.2 percent to 1.62 billion francs.
GAM Holding AG (GAM), the asset manager that split from Julius Baer Group Ltd. almost three years ago, rose 3.1 percent to 11.5 francs. First-half profit climbed as the company booked a lower charge on its stake in Artio Global Investors Inc.
Logitech International SA (LOGN), the world’s largest maker of computer mice, climbed 0.8 percent to 8.46 francs. China Daily reported that the chief executive officer of Logitech China, Quin Liu, said sales in the business market may reach 25 percent of total revenue within three years.
Julius Baer lost 3.8 percent to 31.57 francs after Deutsche Bank AG cut the stock to hold from buy. Vontobel Holding AG downgraded the shares to reduce from hold and cut its price estimate by 16 percent to 27 francs.
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