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Swiss Stocks Advance; Transocean, Richemont Climb in Zurich

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks gained, trimming the Swiss Market Index’s biggest weekly decline since July, as U.S. consumer confidence climbed more than forecast.

Transocean Ltd., the Geneva-based oil rig owner, rose 2.2 percent, rebounding from yesterday’s largest drop in six months. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA added 1.2 percent after its French fashion label Chloe said it will open new stores in China. Kaba Holding AG climbed 2.6 percent after Deutsche Bank AG raised its price estimate for the provider of electronic security systems.

The SMI of the biggest and most actively traded companies increased 0.3 percent to 6,537.2 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich. The gauge has still retreated 2.7 percent this week amid a violent uprising in Libya. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 0.4 percent today to 5,889.33.

“U.S. data continues to give support to the scenario of a slow but growing global economy,” said Stefan Angele, head of investment management at Swiss & Global Asset Management Ltd., which looked after 81.9 billion Swiss francs ($88 billion) for clients at the end of September 2010.

Confidence among U.S. consumers increased more than forecast in February to the highest level in three years, an indication that falling unemployment and a strengthening stock market may be reassuring households. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final sentiment index beat expectations to climb to 77.5 from 74.2 the prior month.

Swiss Economy

Switzerland’s leading economic indicator unexpectedly rose in February as the economy showed a pickup in momentum.

The monthly gauge, which aims to predict the economy’s direction about six months in advance, rose to 2.18 from a revised 2.16 in January, the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich said today. Economists forecast a drop to 2.06, the median of eight estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Transocean gained 2.2 percent to 75.60 francs after yesterday tumbling 4.5 percent. The shares have still declined 4.6 percent this week.

Richemont, the world’s largest jewelry maker, advanced 1.2 percent to 52.95 francs. Chloe, the French fashion label owned by Richemont, said China will become the company’s biggest market in two years as it adds more stores in the world’s fastest growing major economy.

“We expect that within two years China will be the number one market for Chloe,” surpassing Japan, Chief Executive Officer Geoffroy De La Bourdonnaye said in an interview in Shanghai today. Four Chloe stores will be added in China this year, taking the total number in the nation to 13, he said.

Kaba Gains

Kaba jumped 2.6 percent to 391.75 francs as Deutsche Bank raised its price estimate for the shares to 470 francs from 390 francs.

“We see more dynamic top-line development and potentially significant margin upside,” Ken Kagerer, an analyst at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to clients. The group’s electronic products in the “attractive access market” will grow due to “increasing crime, terrorism and other security threats,” according to Kagerer.

Schindler Holding AG surged 2.6 percent to 103.6 francs. Share price weakness following the company’s 2010 results released last week “offers an attractive entry point,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts Rudolf Dreyer and Mayan Uthayakumar wrote in a note to customers today.

Oridion Systems Ltd., a maker of medical devices, increased 2 percent to 10.15 francs. The Jerusalem-based company nominated Asher Tal as a non-executive director.

Swissquote Group Holding AG declined 1.5 percent to 59.10 francs. Switzerland’s largest online broker’s 2010 net income fell 40 percent to 21.2 million francs, the company said today. That missed the average analyst estimate by 5.5 million francs, according to Bloomberg data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Merritt at

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