Swiss Stocks Gain on Italian Debt Sale, U.S. Data

Swiss stocks advanced, after dropping the most in 10 months yesterday, as Italy sold debt and a U.S. report showed durable-goods orders excluding transportation equipment jumped last month.

Swiss Life Holding AG (SLHN) jumped the most since March 2009 after reporting a second-half loss that was narrower than analysts had projected. Temenos Group AG (TEMN) surged the most in 10 months after posting results and announcing a dividend.

The Swiss Market Index added 0.5 percent to 7,484.99 at the close in Zurich. The benchmark measure tumbled 1.9 percent yesterday as Italy’s inconclusive polls sparked concern that Europe’s debt crisis will deepen. The SMI has rallied 9.7 percent so far this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index gained 0.5 percent.

“Equity markets have by no means forgotten yesterday’s selloff, but they have found some solace today as an Italian bond auction saw the country’s borrowing costs decline from Tuesday’s spike,” Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads in London, wrote in a note. “Some strong demand for Italy’s debt has shown that investors have not given up on the chances of normalization even in the aftermath of a disastrous election.”

Italy’s 10-year government bonds rose, pushing yields down from a three-month high, after the nation sold 6.5 billion euros ($8.51 billion) of securities at its first bond auction since its inconclusive election results.

U.S. Data

Orders for U.S. durable goods excluding transportation gear climbed in January by the most in a year, a report showed.

Bookings for equipment meant to last at least three years, excluding demand for products like aircraft, climbed 1.9 percent, the most since December 2011, Commerce Department data showed. That exceeded the 0.2 percent median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Switzerland’s KOF economic indicator decreased for a fifth month in February, suggesting the economy may weaken in the first half of this year.

The monthly gauge, which aims to predict the economy’s direction about six months ahead, dropped to 1.03 from a revised 1.12 in January, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich said. Economists had forecast a retreat to 1, the median of 15 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Swiss Life

Swiss Life rallied 8.7 percent to 151.90 francs after Switzerland’s biggest life insurer posted a second-half loss of 268 million francs. That was narrower than the average forecast in a Bloomberg survey for a 300 million-franc loss.

Temenos jumped 13 percent to 20.95 francs, the biggest increase in 10 months, after posting fourth-quarter sales and profit that beat projections and saying it will pay a dividend of 28 centimes on May 31. Analysts had estimated there would be no payout.

EFG International AG (EFGN) advanced 9.3 percent to 12.35 francs, its highest price since May 2011. The Swiss private bank controlled by the family of billionaire Spiro Latsis posted a profit for the first time in three years after cost cuts.

Georg Fischer AG (FI/N) advanced 6.1 percent to 422 francs after Vontobel Holding AG raised the stock to hold from reduce.

“We turn a bit more positive on the stock as U.S. and Asian macro data have shown improvements recently and the E.U. automotive industry is likely to bottom out this year,” Fabian Haecki, an analyst at Vontobel, wrote in a note to clients today.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 12 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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

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