May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Switzerland advanced, with the Swiss Market Index rising to its highest level in more than five years, as a report showed that U.S. hiring increased and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell in April.
Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, posted the biggest gain on the SMI, climbing 2.2 percent.
The SMI added 0.5 percent to 7,937.61 at the close in Zurich, its highest level since January 2008. The gauge rallied 1 percent this week as the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate. The broader Swiss Performance Index climbed 0.6 percent today.
“Today’s data point is an important one,” said Christoph Riniker, head of strategy research at Bank Julius Baer & Co. in Zurich. “In the longer term, things still bode well for equity markets. The ECB is still willing to support developments.”
The U.S. economy added more jobs in April than economists had forecast and the jobless rate unexpectedly declined to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, a Labor Department report showed. Payrolls expanded by 165,000 workers last month and by a revised 138,000 in March. An earlier release had estimated that payrolls climbed by 88,000 in March. The median forecast of 90 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected a 140,000 gain.
Richemont rose 2.2 percent to 77.10 Swiss francs, its highest price since March 18.
Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, advanced 1.3 percent to 546 francs, a one-month high. The shares have rallied 18 percent so far this year.
ABB Ltd. gained 1.7 percent to 21.29 francs. The world’s largest maker of power transformers generated 27 percent of its revenue from the Americas last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Adecco Ltd. advanced 1.6 percent to 50.80 francs. The world’s biggest supplier of temporary workers gets about 19 percent of its revenue from North America, the data show.
Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-largest lender, increased 1.9 percent to 26.89 francs and Julius Baer Group Ltd. added 1.1 percent to 37.51 francs.
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