March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks advanced for a sixth day even after Portugal’s prime minister resigned, pushing that country closer to an international bailout.
Adecco SA, the world’s biggest supplier of temporary workers, climbed as U.S. jobs data suggested the labor market is improving. Lonza Group AG, the maker of chemicals for drug companies, increased 1.3 percent. Bucher Industries AG, the world’s biggest maker of feed-mixing equipment, rose after announcing an acquisition.
The Swiss Market Index of the biggest and most actively traded companies increased 1 percent to 6,319.23 by the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich. The gauge has fallen 6.2 percent since its highest level this year on Feb. 18 as rebels fought Muammar Qaddafi’s military in Libya and a magnitude-9 earthquake struck Japan. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 1 percent today.
Jose Socrates tendered his resignation yesterday in Portugal after plans to cut the budget were rejected by parliament, pushing the country closer to an international bailout.
“It looks like the bond market has already priced in the Portuguese news as Germany-Portugal spreads haven’t widened much since the start of March,” said Vanni Vecchini, a sales trader at Louis Capital Markets in London. “That’s not enough to really shake sentiment today in the equities markets.”
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said late yesterday he will meet the main parties tomorrow and the government will retain its powers until he accepts Socrates’s resignation. The vote came hours before European Union leaders meet in Brussels to sign off on measures aimed at drawing a line under the region’s sovereign debt crisis.
The yield on Portugal’s 10-year bond advanced 8 basis points to 7.71 percent earlier today.
Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, signaling the labor market is mending.
Jobless claims declined by 5,000 to 382,000 in the week ended March 19, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The total number of people receiving benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost three years.
Adecco climbed 2.1 percent to 60.60 Swiss francs. Lonza rallied 1.3 percent to 76.35 francs. The company has climbed 6 percent in the last six days of trading.
Bucher, Partners Group
Bucher advanced 3.1 percent to 203 francs. The company is acquiring Hutchinson, Kansas-based Krause Corp., Bucher said in a statement. Krause, a specialist in tillage equipment and grain drills, generated sales of $61 million with 230 employees during 2010, Bucher said. The Swiss company’s stock has soared 82 percent since July 5.
Partners Group Holding AG added 2.4 percent to 172.70 francs after Morgan Stanley raised its price estimate for the stock to 200 francs from 181 francs. The bank said it prefers Partners to 3i Group Plc, another investor in infrastructure.
Petroplus Holding AG dropped 3.2 percent to 15.10 francs. Credit Suisse Group AG decreased its price estimate for the Zug, Switzerland-based oil processor. Simple refining margins are “challenging,” Thomas Adolff, an analyst at the bank, wrote in a report today. “Complex refiners will be better positioned.”
Dufry Group, the operator of duty-free shops, lost 7.4 percent to 99.50 francs, its first loss in five days.
“Sales were slightly below expectations with just a small decline in organic growth,” Rene Weber, analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a note to customers today.
Gottex Fund Management Holdings Ltd. sank 5.6 percent to 6.80 francs after reporting a loss of $3 million for 2010. Shares in the Lausanne, Switzerland-based investment manager earlier tumbled as much as 13 percent.
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