Swiss stocks climbed for a fifth day, extending the Swiss Market Index’s highest level in six weeks, as health-care companies advanced.
Ems-Chemie (EMSN) Holding AG rose 3 percent after the chemical producer posted first-half earnings and said it plans a dividend increase. Galenica AG increased 1.1 percent after UBS AG added the pharmaceutical stock to its most preferred list. PubliGroupe SA fell the most in more than two months.
The SMI (SMI) rose 0.4 percent to 8,020.96 at 10:14 a.m. in Zurich. The gauge is heading for a 3.1 percent gain and third weekly advance this week amid optimism that economic data and corporate earnings will improve. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.4 percent today.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 40 percent lower than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Swiss stocks rose yesterday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke backed sustained monetary stimulus to support the world’s largest economy.
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei signaled the world’s second-biggest economy may expand less than the government’s target this year and that growth as low as 6.5 percent may be tolerable in the future.
While the government in March set a 2013 growth goal of 7.5 percent, Lou said he’s confident of achieving a 7 percent rate this year. He spoke yesterday at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington.
Ems-Chemie rose 3 percent to 304.25 Swiss francs after posting first-half earnings before interest and taxes of 210 million francs ($221 million), up from 167 million francs a year earlier. The chemical producer also confirmed its outlook and said it plans a dividend increase of 43 percent to 10 francs.
Galenica rose 1.1 percent to 620.50 francs. UBS added the world’s biggest maker of iron-replacement drugs to its most preferred list, saying that U.S. approval of its Injectafer anaemia treatment by the end of July may boost sentiment.
A gauge of European health-care shares was among the best performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Roche Holding AG, the worlds’ largest maker of cancer drugs, rose 0.7 percent to 244.20 francs and Actelion Ltd. increased 1.1 percent to 60.65 francs.
Swiss Re Talks
Swiss Re said in February that it had “work to do” in relation to Admin Re, a unit which manages closed life insurance funds. Phoenix Group, the U.K.’s biggest manager of closed life-insurance funds, said today that if talks are successful, it would result in Swiss Re taking a minority shareholding in Phoenix as payment. Still, there is “no certainty” on “the terms on which any such transaction might proceed,” it said.
PubliGroupe (PUBN) slumped 6.5 percent to 114.50 francs after the advertising company said it will post a half-year single-digit million loss and miss a break-even target when it reports results on Aug. 26.
“The new CEO presented its strategy and its targets last December and above everything else there has been this break-even media-sales target,” Andy Schnyder, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a note to clients today. “Investor confidence, which started to build up, is now gone and it will take time to regain it. Therefore we expect the stock to be dead until the company can prove, by publishing good results, that they can turn around the media-sales business.”
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