Swiss Stocks Rise as Bernanke Signals Stimulus; UBS Gains

Swiss stocks rose to their highest level in more than five weeks after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke called for a continuation of stimulus measures.

UBS AG (UBSN), the country’s largest lender, advanced. Swatch Group AG climbed 1.7 percent. Partners Group Holding AG slumped 6.6 percent, its biggest drop in four years.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) rose 0.5 percent to 8,009.97 at 1:57 p.m. in Zurich. The gauge has rallied 2.9 percent so far this week amid optimism that economic data and corporate earnings will improve. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.5 percent today.

“The up move today confirms the joyful reaction of the markets to Bernanke’s comments, which surely were supportive,” said Christoph Riniker, head of strategy research at Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich. “Sentiment is quite positive. I think the mood can last for a while, but it being summer, a lull with low volumes can’t be excluded. However, I don’t expect a big setback in the next coming weeks.’

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 10 percent lower than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bernanke spoke after the central bank released minutes of its June 18-19 gathering showing that about half of the 19 participants in the Federal Open Market Committee wanted to halt the $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by the end of the year. At the same time, the minutes showed many Fed officials wanted to see more signs employment is improving before backing a trim to bond purchases known as quantitative easing.

UBS, Swatch

UBS advanced 1.3 percent to 16.78 Swiss francs, and Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, increased 1.7 percent to 559.50 francs.

Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, added 1 percent to 63.95 francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s gain. Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke said today that China’s economic growth is slowing to a more sustainable level and that the country’s slowdown isn’t a ‘‘high-alert” issue.

Temenos Group AG (TEMN) gained 2 percent to 23.50 francs after Vontobel Holding AG raised its price estimate for the banking-software maker by 24 percent to 31 francs, citing a relicensing opportunity that offers substantial upside.

Partners Group slumped 6.6 percent to 253.25 francs. The money manager focused on private equity posted a 5.9 percent increase in assets in the first half of the year after clients added funds at the lower end of its target range.

Kuehne & Nagel International AG (KNIN), the world’s biggest sea-freight forwarder, slid 1.3 percent to 112.40 francs, halting five days of gains, its longest winning streak since October.

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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