Swiss stocks advanced for a second day as the Bank of Japan said it will take all steps necessary to meet its inflation target, and a report showed applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell more than forecast.
Swatch (UHR) Group AG and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA were among the biggest gainers, following a gauge of European luxury-goods companies higher, after Jefferies Group Inc. said jewelry and watch sales in China and Hong Kong may rebound.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) increased 0.6 percent to 7,815.28 at the close of trading in Zurich. The number of shares changing hands on the gauge was 7.2 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.6 percent today.
“The reason for gains is the new monetary policy in Japan, which is very aggressive,” said Thomas Dhainaut, a fund manager at Sycomore Asset Management in Paris, which oversees $2.2 billion in stocks. “Liquidity that comes to the market will go to riskier assets. What is driving the stock market the most today is the monetary policy of central banks.”
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank will take all steps necessary to meet a 2 percent inflation target. “The biggest commitment is that we will take all necessary measures,” he told reporters in Tokyo yesterday, six days after announcing unprecedented stimulus to double the monetary base over two years.
Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. plunged more than forecast last week, unwinding a surge caused by the Easter holiday and spring break at schools.
Jobless claims decreased by 42,000 to 346,000 in the week ended April 6, from a revised 388,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 360,000.
The European Central Bank said it will look for signs in economic data that inflation could slow more than it currently anticipates.
“In the coming weeks, the Governing Council will monitor very closely all incoming information on economic and monetary developments and assess any impact on the outlook for price stability,” the ECB said in its monthly bulletin today, echoing President Mario Draghi’s April 4 policy statement.
Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, advanced 2.1 percent to 541.50 Swiss francs. Richemont, the owner of the Cartier brand, rose 2.2 percent to 73.75 francs.
Hengdeli Holdings Ltd., Swatch’s retail partner in China, jumped 11 percent in Hong Kong after Jefferies recommended investors hold the stock in new coverage.
Jefferies said Hong Kong and China jewelers and watch retailers may see a rebound in sales, gross margins and profits after consolidation last year.
Givaudan SA (GIVN), the world’s largest maker of flavorings and fragrances, advanced 2.5 percent to 1,158 francs.
The Bloomberg European Luxury Goods Index increased 1.5 percent, rising for a second day.
Leclanche SA dropped 4 percent to 4.34 francs, its lowest price in two months. The manufacturer of large-sized lithium ion batteries said shareholders at the annual general meeting approved a financial restructuring.
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