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Swiss Stocks Advance as Shares of ABB, Swiss Re, UBS Increase

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks climbed for a third day this week, led by industrial companies and financial firms after the unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly dropped, boosting confidence in the world’s biggest economy.

ABB Ltd., the world’s biggest power-grid supplier, Swiss Reinsurance Co. and UBS AG each rallied more than 1.4 percent in Zurich. Barry Callebaut AG jumped 3.7 percent after the chocolate maker posted higher first-half profit. Logitech International SA plunged 16 percent after the company cut its profit forecast.

The Swiss Market Index of the biggest and most actively traded companies rose 1.3 percent to 6,439.91 in Zurich, taking this week’s gain to 1.4 percent. The broader Swiss Performance Index increased 1.3 percent today.

“Solid payroll readings in the U.S. have galvanized consensus and momentum is continuing to build for the world’s largest economy,” Ben Critchley, sales trader at IG Index in London, wrote in a note.

Swiss stocks extended gains as U.S. payrolls increased by 216,000 workers in March after a revised gain of 194,000 in February. Economists had projected a March gain of 190,000, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The U.S. jobless rate also dropped to 8.8 percent from 8.9 percent in February, its fourth straight decrease.

ABB, which today won a $165 million order from State Grid Corp. of China, jumped 3.5 percent to 22.82 Swiss francs. Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, rose 3.6 percent to 54.45 francs as insurance companies increased across Europe today.

UBS climbed 1.5 percent to 16.73 francs. Switzerland’s biggest bank aims to double revenue from China in three to four years, according to Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, co-head of the company’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut rallied 3.7 percent to 778.5 francs after the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate reported a 9.2 percent increase in first-half profit to 159 million francs ($170.3 million), helped by sales in emerging markets.

Logitech plunged 16 percent to 13.95 francs, the largest drop since 2003, after the world’s biggest maker of computer mice cut its full-year earnings forecast. The company predicted operating income of $140 million to $150 million. That’s down from its previous projection of $170 million to $180 million. Logitech lowered its forecast because of “weakness” in its Europe, Middle East and Africa retail sales region, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net.

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