Stocks in Switzerland were little changed, near the benchmark Swiss Market Index’s highest level in three weeks, as Swisscom AG reported better-than-expected results, while Swiss Re Ltd. fell.
Swisscom rose 1.9 percent after the country’s biggest phone company posted second-quarter profit and revenue that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Swiss Re lost 1 percent. Meyer Burger (MBTN) Technology AG, the supplier of machinery to solar-panel makers, slumped 6.9 percent.
The SMI (SMI) gained 0.1 percent to 8,005.41 at 11:27 a.m. in Zurich. The equity benchmark rallied 2.1 percent last week as the European Central Bank said interest rates will remain low for an extended period and the Federal Reserve kept its monthly bond purchases unchanged. The broader Swiss Performance Index climbed 0.1 percent today.
“I think investors are hanging in the air a bit,” said Christian Gattiker, the head of research at Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich. “Investors are focusing on the timing of the Fed tapering again as there’s no major news out otherwise. Volume is low and market participants are waiting for a clearer direction.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the SMI was 9.3 percent below the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We’ve seen good improvement in the labor market, there’s no question in my mind about that,” Evans said in a meeting with reporters in Chicago. “I’m still wanting to see greater evidence that it’s a sustainable improvement.”
Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, one of the most vocal critics of quantitative easing, had said Aug. 5 that policy makers were “closer to execution mode” in considering the right time to begin reducing purchases.
Data today may show industrial output in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, added 0.3 percent in June after dropping 1 percent in May, according to the median forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The report is due at noon in Berlin.
Swisscom (SCMN) rose 1.9 percent to 420.90 francs. Net income dropped 6.8 percent to 427 million francs ($461 million). That still exceeded the 408 million-franc average analyst estimate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 1.5 percent to 2.86 billion francs, compared with the 2.8 billion-franc estimate.
Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, dropped 1 percent to 72.35 francs, bringing its two-day decline to 3.3 percent, the most in two months.
Meyer Burger tumbled 6.9 percent to 6.64 francs, snapping the longest winning streak since August 2012. Shares rallied 19 percent in the past six days. First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar-panel manufacturer, reported lower second-quarter profit as sales slid 46 percent, sending shares lower.
Novartis AG added 0.8 percent to 68.45 francs, even as the company’s Afinitor drug failed to meet its primary endpoint in an advanced liver cancer study.
“The setback is not grave as the liver cancer indication was always regarded as risky,” David Kaegi, an analyst at J. Safra Sarasin in Zurich, wrote in a note to clients today. “With the other cancer indications for Afinitor still in place, Novartis’ plate remains full and Afinitor is still on track to reach consensus 2015 sales expectations.”
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