Swiss stocks rose for a fourth day, extending their highest level since May, as investors awaited a U.S. employment report to gauge the rate of bond buying needed to fuel a recovery in the world’s biggest economy.
Novartis AG (NOVN), which makes up 19 percent of the Swiss Market Index (SMI), rose after increasing its sales target for the year. Transocean Ltd. (RIG), a dual-listed offshore drilling contractor, gained 4.8 percent in Zurich after Standard & Poor’s said the company will join its benchmark U.S. equities index this month.
The SMI added 0.2 percent to 8,141.77 at 10:14 a.m. in Zurich. The equity benchmark has gained 1.5 percent so far in October as U.S. lawmakers reached an agreement to avoid a government debt default. The gauge has surged 19 percent in 2013 as central banks around the world pledged to leave interest rates low for a prolonged period. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 0.1 percent today.
“After the effects of the government shutdown, the Fed won’t want to place an additional burden on the U.S. economy,” Takis Spiliopoulos, head of research at Bank Vontobel AG, said by phone from Zurich. “Any stimulus cut will probably be pushed out into March next year. I don’t expect the delayed data to be particularly good. Novartis guiding slightly upwards is helping the market today, though it’s for a very specific reason and the earnings season has been pretty even.”
In the U.S., a report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington will probably show that payrolls rose by 180,000 in September, the most since April, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Employers added 169,000 workers in August. The Labor Department had planned to release the data on Oct. 4, only for the 16-day partial government shutdown to delay publication until today.
The unemployment rate held at 7.3 percent in September for a second consecutive month, economists in a separate survey projected. That was the lowest level since 2008. The Federal Reserve has pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate near zero as long as unemployment exceeds 6.5 percent and the outlook for inflation doesn’t rise above 2.5 percent.
The Federal Open Market Committee will start its next two-day meeting on Oct. 29, the first since the U.S. government reopened. The Fed will delay the first reduction in its monthly bond purchases until March because the closure of federal agencies slowed fourth-quarter growth and interrupted the gathering of data, economists said in a Bloomberg News survey.
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