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Swiss Stocks Advance; UBS, Zurich Financial, Adecco Lead Gains

Stocks in Switzerland rose, with the benchmark Swiss Market Index rebounding from a two-month low, as optimism grew that Greek aid talks will be concluded this week.

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, and Zurich Financial Services AG led financial shares higher. Adecco SA increased 2.1 percent after the largest supplier of temporary workers had its share-price estimate raised at Bank Vontobel AG.

The SMI of the largest and most actively traded companies rose 89.45, or 1.4 percent, to 6,665.84. The gauge yesterday closed at the lowest level since February after Standard & Poor’s cut Spain’s credit rating, one day after downgrading Greek and Portuguese debt. The benchmark index for Swiss equities has still gained 55 percent from a six-year low in March 2009 as the global economy emerged from recession. The broader Swiss Performance Index advanced 1.2 percent today.

“The market moves we have seen in the last few days are more sentiment-driven than fundamentally supported,” Christoph Riniker, a strategist at Bank Julius Baer Group Ltd. in Zurich, which manages about $226 billion, wrote in a note. “We expect some rebound as soon as positive news are entering the market.”

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn today told reporters in Brussels that he is confident discussions on the aid package for Greece will conclude “in the next days.”

‘Breathing Space’

“The financial support will give Greece sufficient breathing space from pressure of financial markets,” he said. Details on the aid package would be available “soon.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the results of talks with Greece over an aid package can be expected “in a few days.”

UBS increased 2.2 percent to 17.02 Swiss francs. Zurich Financial advanced 2 percent to 244.3 francs. Zurich Insurance Co., the main unit of Switzerland’s biggest insurer, had its outlook revised to stable from negative at Fitch Ratings.

Swiss Reinsurance Co., the world’s second-largest reinsurer, climbed 2.3 percent to 48.73 francs. European insurers’ risk from the Greek debt crisis is “manageable” because the effect of a default on their solvency ratios would be limited, Deutsche Bank AG analysts said in a report.

Adecco, which is due to report first-quarter results next week, rose 2.1 percent to 64.4 francs. Bank Vontobel lifted its share-price estimate to 80 francs from 75 francs, citing higher earnings estimates due to improving economic conditions and a recovery of temporary staffing markets.

Nestle, ABB

Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, rallied 1.8 percent to 52.8 francs after rival Unilever reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates.

ABB Ltd., the world’s largest maker of electricity networks, gained 1.1 percent to 21.13 francs. Rival Siemens AG, Europe’s biggest engineering company, said full-year earnings will be higher than previously forecast after it cut jobs and demand for light bulbs and factory automation equipment rebounded.

Separately, ABB won an order worth $108 million from the Saudi Electricity Company to construct six new substations.

Roche Holding AG increased 1.3 percent to 170.7 francs after the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs said its Tarceva medicine has been approved in the European Union for maintenance use in advanced lung cancer.

Separately, Roche’s taspoglutide medicine for diabetes met the main goal in a late-stage clinical study, according to Ipsen SA, Roche’s partner on the drug.

Clariant Climbs

Clariant AG gained 2.6 percent to 14.6 francs. The world’s biggest maker of printing-ink chemicals raised its full-year forecasts after job cuts and a shift in production to Asia helped the company swing to profit in the first quarter. Net income totaled 6 million francs ($5.5 million) compared with a loss of 93 million francs a year earlier.

Geberit AG advanced 2.3 percent to 192.4 francs. Europe’s biggest maker of toilet-flushing systems raised its operating margin forecast after first-quarter net income increased more than 20 percent on growth in Asia and lower-raw material costs.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded the shares to “neutral” from “conviction sell,” citing “above-average returns, coupled with continued strong cash generation and balance sheet.”

Panalpina Welttransport Holding AG climbed 10 percent to 97 francs. The freight forwarder reported net income attributable to shareholders of 99,000 francs in the first quarter. Analysts estimated a 16 million-franc loss.

Swissquote, Temenos

Swissquote Group Holding AG gained 4.6 percent to 46.85 francs even after Switzerland’s largest online broker said its first-quarter net income fell 28 percent from the previous three-month period.

Temenos Group AG advanced 7.5 percent to 30.25 francs. The banking-software maker said like-for-like revenue growth in the first quarter was 3 percent while total revenue increased 16 percent.

Nobel Biocare Holding AG declined 3 percent to 23.62 francs, extending yesterday’s 19 percent slump. The world’s biggest maker of dental implants had its share-price estimate cut to 24 francs from 28 francs at Credit Suisse Group AG.

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