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Stocks in Switzerland Rise After U.S. Manufacturing Data

Swiss stocks rose to a two-week high as health-care companies rallied and the Institute for Supply Management’s U.S. factory index increased more than economists forecast in March.

Roche Holding AG, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, jumped 2.5 percent after saying it looks forward to the “swift completion” of its takeover offer for Illumina Inc. Novartis AG added 1.8 percent after an experimental treatment for smoker’s cough met the main goal in three trials. Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s biggest maker of bulk chocolate, dropped 3.5 percent after reporting earnings that missed analyst estimates.

The Swiss Market Index, a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, rose 1 percent to 6,299.38 at the close in Zurich, after earlier dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The benchmark gauge has gained 6.1 percent this year as the European Central Bank disbursed more than 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) to the region’s lenders. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 1.3 percent today.

“The ISM index lies comfortably in the expansion zone, so no doubts about the economic recovery in the U.S. should come up,” Ulrich Wortberg, an analyst at Helaba Landesbank Hessen-Thueringen, wrote in e-mailed comments.

The SMI fell last week as reports showed that more Americans filed claims for jobless benefits than economists had estimated and data from the Conference Board indicated a drop in U.S. consumer confidence in March.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 1.3 percent less than the average over the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Manufacturing

Swiss stocks extended gains after the ISM’s U.S. manufacturing index rose to 53.4 in March from 52.4 a month earlier. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected the gauge would climb to 53.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index increased to 53.1 last month, the nation’s logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. In contrast, a PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing contracting and export orders falling.

Swiss manufacturing output expanded for the first time in seven months in March, adding to signs the economy is stabilizing. The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 51.1 from 49 in February, when adjusted for seasonal swings, Credit Suisse Group said today. That’s the first reading above 50, signaling expansion, since August 2011. Economists had forecast a gain to 49.5, the median of 12 estimates in a Bloomberg survey showed.

Roche, Novartis Climb

Roche advanced 2.5 percent to 161 francs, the largest gain since Feb. 7. Illumina forecast first-quarter sales will surpass analyst estimates.

Separately, Roche reported FDA approval of a re-analytical instrument that provides a primary tube handling for its automated molecular-testing platform.

Novartis added 1.8 percent to 50.85 francs after it said an experimental treatment for smoker’s cough met the main goal in three trials. Novartis said today it plans to use the results as part of an application for U.S. marketing approval of the drug, QVA149.

Sonova Holding AG, the hearing-aid maker, increased 1.6 percent to 101.90 francs and Actelion Ltd., Switzerland’s largest biotechnology company, added 1.6 percent to 33.54 francs. A gauge of European health-care companies was the best performer of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600.

Barry Callebaut lost 3.5 percent 872.50 francs after it reported first-half earnings before interest and taxes of 175.1 million francs ($194.2 million), missing the average analyst estimate of 196.2 million francs.

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