Swiss Stocks Advance to Highest Level Since June 2008

Swiss stocks climbed to their highest level since June 2008 as a gauge of German economic sentiment rose more than forecast.

Roche Holding AG posted the second-biggest contribution to the benchmark Swiss Market Index’s advance. Schindler Holding AG slid the most in four months after abandoning the profitability target for its elevators and escalators business. Nobel Biocare Holding AG lost 3.2 percent after Chief Executive Officer Richard Laube said that its market will remain difficult in the short term.

The SMI increased 1.1 percent to 7,579.5 at the close of trading in Zurich. The gauge has rallied 11 percent this year as the Swiss franc depreciated against the euro. The broader Swiss Performance Index gained 1 percent today.

“Economic sentiment is on the rebound,” said Daniel Weston, chief investment officer at Aimed Capital Management LLC in Munich, in e-mailed comments. “Investors are pleased with the positive start to the year as equity markets have continued to build momentum. Economic data is surprising on the upside and volatility is low.”

The ZEW Center for European Economic Research said its index of German investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, rose to 48.2 in February from 31.5 in January. Economists had forecast the measure would climb to 35, according to the median of 38 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Roche, Schindler

Roche gained 1.8 percent to 210.80 francs as the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. said it plans to map the brain’s activity to better understand how disorders affect the organ. Roche is among the drugmakers developing treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and autism.

Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company which accounts for 23 percent of the SMI, added 1.6 percent to 64.10 francs.

Schindler Holding fell 1.4 percent to 138.70 francs after saying it will no longer use its 14 percent margin target based on earnings before interest and taxes. The company said its elevators and escalators business will instead focus on winning market share in China and India.

Nobel Biocare lost 32 centimes to 9.61 francs after saying, “the company targets to modestly build market share and deliver modest revenue growth.”

The world’s second-biggest maker of dental implants reported fourth-quarter net income of 11.2 million euros ($15 million), beating the average analyst estimate of 9.55 million euros as the company cut costs in Europe.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 36 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

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

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