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Stocks in Switzerland Advance; Givaudan Gains on Dividend

Stocks in Switzerland climbed, with the Swiss Market Index rebounding from a two-week low, as Givaudan SA announced full-year dividend and profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

Givaudan rallied to its highest price in five years. Swiss Re AG posted the biggest gain in more than a year as peer Munich Re AG said it would increase its dividend after fourth-quarter net income beat projections.

The SMI added 0.6 percent to 7,404.63 at the close in Zurich. The benchmark gauge slipped yesterday to the lowest since Jan. 22. It has still advanced 8.5 percent this year as the Swiss franc weakened against the euro and U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 0.5 percent today.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 11 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Euro-area services output shrank less than initially estimated in January, a report showed. An index based on a survey of purchasing managers in the services industry rose to 48.6 from 47.8 in December, Markit Economics said. That’s higher than the 48.3 initial estimate published on Jan. 24. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Givaudan Dividend

Givaudan gained 5.7 percent to 1,070 Swiss francs, its highest price since January 2008. The world’s largest maker of flavorings and fragrances announced a dividend of 36 francs a share. That exceeded the Bloomberg Dividend Forecast of 25 francs. Net income rose to 411 million francs ($452 million), beating the 387.5 million francs projected by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Swiss Re climbed 4.1 percent to 70.50 francs, its biggest gain since January 2012. Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer, said it plans to increase its dividend for last year by about 12 percent after fourth-quarter profit exceeded analysts’ forecasts.

Evolva Holding SA surged 8.9 percent to 61 centimes after saying it entered the pre-production phase to develop natural vanillin for commercial use, along with partner International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.

Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, advanced 2.3 percent to 26.76 francs.

Holcim Ltd., the world’s largest cement maker, declined 0.9 percent to 70.40 francs.

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