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Swiss Stocks Rise Before Deadline for Greece’s Debt Swap

Updated on

Swiss stocks climbed, extending yesterday’s biggest rally in a month, as investors waited to see how many of Greece’s private creditors will agree to exchange their debt.

Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest banks, advanced as bondholders owning a majority of Greek debt said they will take part in the so-called private-sector involvement. Roche Holding AG, which accounts for 15 percent of the Swiss Market Index, climbed 2.4 percent.

The SMI, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, rose 0.8 percent to 6,153.93 at the close in Zurich. The gauge increased 0.9 percent yesterday, its biggest rally since Feb. 3. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 1.4 percent today.

“The markets have picked up following the falls from earlier in the week, assisted by the prospect of the required PSI on Greek debt for the country to avoid default,” Simon Denham, chief executive officer of Capital Spreads in London, wrote in a note today. “As PSI has become more apparent, the markets have become perkier.”

Investors accounting for 60 percent of the bonds eligible for Greece’s debt swap have indicated that they will take part in the biggest sovereign restructuring in history. Greece needs the holders of 75 percent of eligible bonds to support the debt swap. The offer, which ends at 10 p.m. in Athens, aims to reduce the 206 billion euros ($273 billion) of privately held Greek debt by 53.5 percent.

U.S. Jobless Claims

The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits rose to 362,000 last week. Applications for unemployment insurance payments increased by 8,000 in the week ended March 3, a U.S. Labor Department release showed today. Economists had predicted 352,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.

European Central Bank policy makers kept their benchmark interest rate at a record low of 1 percent today, as forecast by economists in a Bloomberg News survey. ECB President Mario Draghi said today that inflation will probably exceed the bank’s 2 percent limit this year.

Swiss consumer prices declined less in February than economists had estimated. The index fell 0.9 percent from a year earlier, after slipping 0.8 percent in January, the Federal Statistics Office in Neuchatel said in an e-mailed statement today. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey had predicted a decrease of 1 percent.

Credit Suisse Gains

Credit Suisse advanced 3.2 percent to 24.50 Swiss francs after Citigroup Inc. recommended buying its shares.

UBS added 1.7 percent to 12.55 francs.

Roche Holding AG, which makes medicines for eye disorders, rose 2.4 percent to 157.50 francs after ThromboGenics NV chief Patrik De Haes said his company has held talks with three of “the big boys” of the world’s drug firms to sell its eye-treatment product, ocriplasmin.

Swiss National Bank increased 2.7 percent to 1,109 francs as the country’s central bank returned to profit in 2011.

Tecan Group AG, a maker of laboratory equipment, plunged 12 percent to 65.15 francs after cutting its full-year sales forecast. The shares fell the most since October 2008.

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