Swiss Stocks Advance After Yellen Stimulus Comments

Swiss stocks advanced, halting a two-day decline for the Swiss Market Index, after Janet Yellen, nominated to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the U.S. economy must improve before monetary stimulus is pared.

Zurich Insurance Group AG increased 2.7 percent as Switzerland’s biggest insurer said third-quarter profit rose 64 percent, beating analyst estimates. Nestle SA (NESN), the world’s largest food company, rose 0.5 percent, contributing the most to the benchmark gauge’s gain. Swatch Group AG and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA climbed.

The SMI (SMI) advanced 0.7 percent to 8,289.84 at 9:26 a.m. in Zurich. It has surged 22 percent this year, heading for the best annual performance since 2005, as central banks around the world pledged to leave interest rates low for a prolonged period. The Swiss Performance Index also added 0.7 percent today.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 23 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Yellen, the Fed’s vice chairman, yesterday voiced her commitment to using bond purchases known as quantitative easing to boost growth and lower unemployment that remains above 7 percent more than four years after the economy began to recover from the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

“A strong recovery will ultimately enable the Fed to reduce its monetary accommodation and reliance on unconventional policy tools such as asset purchases,” Yellen said in testimony prepared for her nomination hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. “I believe that supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy.”

Zurich Insurance (ZURN) climbed 2.7 percent to 259 Swiss francs. Net income in the third quarter rose to $1.1 billion from a restated $672 million a year ago. Earnings surpassed the $993.5 million average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. General insurance, the biggest unit, saw operating profit rise 68 percent to $755 million in the quarter.

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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