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Swiss Stocks Advance for a Second Day as Economy Expands

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Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks rallied, extending the sixth consecutive month of gains for the country’s equity benchmark, as Switzerland’s economy unexpectedly expanded in the fourth quarter.

Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, and Holcim Ltd., the largest cement maker, both advanced more than 2 percent. Temenos Group AG gained for a second day. Addex Therapeutics Ltd. jumped 2.5 percent after the company reported a narrower full-year net loss.

The Swiss Market Index added 1.5 percent to 7,593.67 at the close in Zurich, extending its advance in February to 2.7 percent, the longest streak of monthly gains since 2009. The broader Swiss Performance Index increased 1.4 percent today.

“In contrast with most other industrial countries, the Swiss economy was able to maintain a positive growth momentum at the end of 2012, thanks to resilient consumption,” Alexander Koch, an economist at UniCredit SpA in Munich, wrote in a report to clients dated today. “The outlook for this year remains comparatively favorable.”

Today’s report showed the Swiss economy expanded 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Bern. Economists had forecast stagnation, the median of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey showed. Gross domestic product increased 0.6 percent in the third quarter.

Draghi Speech

Stocks also advanced today after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled at an event in Munich yesterday that the ECB has no intention of withdrawing its measures to combat the euro area’s debt crisis.

Swatch, which generates about 36 percent of its revenue from Europe, climbed 2.9 percent to 533 Swiss francs for the biggest advance on the SMI.

Holcim, which takes 26 percent of sales from the region, climbed 2.1 percent to 75.75 francs as Exane raised its price estimate on the shares by 4 percent to 85 francs. The stock rallied 3.2 percent yesterday as the company said there would be no repeat of the European writedowns that had caused the cement maker to post a wider-than-forecast loss.

Temenos added 1.4 percent to 21.25 francs, extending yesterday’s 13 percent rally when the Swiss maker of banking software reported fourth-quarter earnings.

Addex climbed 18 centimes to 7.48 francs, rising for the first time in four days. The biotechnology company narrowed its full-year loss to 27 million francs ($29 million) from a 31 million-franc net loss a year earlier.

Sika Slides

Sika AG slid 0.9 percent to 2,326 francs. The shares earlier fell as much as 3 percent after the world’s largest maker of construction chemicals said it will probably not reach a medium-term sales growth target of as much as 10 percent as the euro area’s debt woes weigh on builders. The company forecast growth of 4 percent to 6 percent.

Santhera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG dropped 9.6 percent to 3.20 francs. The Swiss drugs developer postponed its full-year results after stopping sales of its Catena drug in Canada.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 7.7 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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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