Swiss Equities Advance; Nestle, Roche, Clariant Lead Increase

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks rose as France’s L’Oreal SA posted revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, boosting investor optimism in the economic recovery.

Nestle SA, the Vevey, Switzerland-based maker of KitKat bars that owns 30 percent of L’Oreal, gained 1 percent. Roche Holding AG climbed 2.4 percent after winning approval for a cervical cancer test in the U.S. Clariant AG, a maker of chemicals and dyes, surged 4.6 percent.

The Swiss Market Index of the biggest and most actively traded companies rallied 1.9 percent to 6,444.81 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich, for its biggest gain in a month. All but one of the 20 companies in the gauge climbed. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 1.8 percent to 5,919.5.

“Earnings on both sides of the Atlantic have injected some enthusiasm into the stock market,” said John Plassard, director of Louis Capital Markets in Geneva. “It’s back to reality after S&P’s U.S. outlook put fear into some investors.”

Of the 30 companies in the Stoxx 600 that have reported earnings since April 11, 20 have beaten estimates for per-share profit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the U.S., Intel Corp., the world’s biggest chipmaker, forecast second-quarter sales that may top analysts’ estimates in an earnings statement yesterday after the close of trading.

Nestle increased 1 percent to 53.70 Swiss francs. L’Oreal said that revenue climbed 9.3 percent to 5.16 billion euros ($7.48 billion). The maker of Garnier shampoo said that it will outperform the global cosmetics market in 2011.

Separately, Nestle raised milk powder prices in China by an average of about 20 percent, the National Business Daily reported today.

Roche, the world’s biggest diagnostics company, added 2.4 percent to 136.30 francs after it won U.S. approval for a test to identify women at high risk of developing cervical cancer.

Clariant Climbs

Clariant soared 4.6 percent to 17.48 francs, its highest price in more than three months. Syngenta AG, the maker of crop-protection products, rose 3 percent to 308.90 francs. A gauge of chemical companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged 3.3 percent today, the biggest increase since December.

Von Roll Holding AG, the producer of heat insulation products, gained 4.7 percent to 4.48 francs after saying first-quarter adjusted sales increased 9 percent to 156 million francs ($175 million) compared with the year-earlier period.

Inficon Holding AG soared 5 percent to 197 francs after the maker of products for semiconductor manufacturers said net income for the first three months surged 90 percent to $10.8 million. The East Syracuse, New York-based company increased its sales forecast, saying that “the catastrophe in Japan will not have massive negative effects” on its business.

Temenos Group AG, a maker of banking software, tumbled 5.9 percent to 30.10 francs after reporting a first-quarter loss of $10.9 million following the close of trading yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Zurich at gbroom@bloomberg.net.

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