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Swiss Stocks Rise for Third Week as Novartis, SGS Advance

March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Switzerland rose for a third day as better-than-expected manufacturing data from the U.S. offset investor concern that spending cuts may slow the world’s largest economy.

Logitech International SA climbed 1.3 percent after saying it will cut 5 percent of its worldwide non-direct labor force. UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, the country’s biggest banks, declined as a gauge of European lenders fell the second-most of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

The Swiss Market Index advanced 0.1 percent to 7,601.99 at the close of trading, extending its weekly gain to 0.6 percent. The measure has risen for six consecutive months, its longest streak of monthly gains since 2009. The broader Swiss Performance Index was little changed today.

“Assuming the sequester is not too damaging, we think the U.S. economy will look better,” Jeremy Hale, head of macro strategy at Citigroup Inc. in London, told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television, referring to the spending cuts. “We still like equities; the big driver here is liquidity from the central banks.”

The number of shares trading hands on SMI-listed companies was 32 percent higher than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Manufacturing in the U.S. expanded at a faster pace than forecast in February, reaching the highest level since June 2011 as factories boosted production.

The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index advanced to 54.2, from 53.1 in January, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. The figures exceeded the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg survey in which the median projection was 52.5. A reading greater than 50 signals expansion.

Budget Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama has summoned congressional leaders to the White House today to discuss the country’s budget. No additional U.S. congressional action is planned before the start of the so-called sequester, to be split between defense and non-defense spending. The across-the-board cuts will total $1.2 trillion over nine years, with $85 billion taking effect in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year.

Swiss manufacturing output expanded at a slower pace than economists predicted in February. The Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 50.8 from 52.5 in January, when adjusted for seasonal swings, Credit Suisse said. That’s below the 52.1 median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

Logitech Jobs

Logitech added 8 centimes to 6.41 francs. The world’s largest maker of computer mice forecast a $12 million to $14 million charge in the fourth quarter of this year due to the planned job cuts, according to a statement. The company expects cost savings of $16 million to $18 million in 2014 as a result of the reductions.

Novartis AG advanced 1.2 percent to 64.40 francs. The drugmaker said it received approval for its Ilaris treatment for patients suffering acute gouty arthritis attacks.

SGS SA, the world’s largest product inspector, gained 1.9 percent to 2,427 francs, its highest price since at least October 1989. The shares have gained 20 percent this year.

UBS lost 0.8 percent to 14.71 Swiss francs, extending the stock’s fifth week of declines. Credit Suisse retreated 1.2 percent to 24.80 francs.

Charles Voegele Holding AG slipped 4.9 percent to 15.60 francs after the clothing retailer said it may exit some European markets to cut losses, including Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at

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