Swiss stocks climbed, after the Swiss Market Index dropped to its lowest level in six weeks yesterday, as a Federal Reserve official said the bank remains committed to buying assets to stimulate the economy.
Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, rallied the most since September 2011. Aryzta AG increased 2.4 percent after the owner of bakery businesses including Delice de France and Otis Spunkmeyer posted third-quarter sales. UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s biggest banks, each climbed more than 1 percent, following a gauge of European lenders higher.
The SMI rose 1.2 percent to 7,875.68 at the close of trading in Zurich, its first advance in five days and the biggest in almost three weeks. The equity benchmark posted a 2.7 percent drop last week, its largest since November. The gauge still rose 0.5 percent in May, completing its longest streak of monthly gains since 1997. The Swiss Performance Index added 1.1 percent today.
“The comments made yesterday calmed investors down a bit, at least for the next couple of days,” said Markus Wallner, an equity strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “The focus will continue to be on U.S. economic data, especially if they are better than expected. Then we could see the fear returning. Markets find themselves in a volatile sideways movement.”
U.S. stocks erased their losses yesterday after European markets closed as Fed Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said recent reports suggest the American economy remains too weak to justify reducing the central bank’s bond-buying program.
“The data we’re receiving are still very mixed,” Lockhart said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview in New York. “The ISM report this morning is a good example. I’m not getting a clear picture of an economy that really is tracking with considerable momentum.”
The Institute for Supply Management released its factory index yesterday. The measure fell to 49 in May from 50.7 in April, missing the median forecast of economists of 51.
Nestle, the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and S. Pellegrino sparkling water, increased 3.2 percent to 63.95 Swiss francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s gain.
Aryzta gained 2.4 percent to 55.85 francs. The company reported third-quarter revenue of 1.18 billion euros ($1.5 billion), compared with the 1.19 billion euros that analysts had estimated. The company also said it expects to return to double-digit underlying earnings-per-share growth in its financial year ending in 2014.
“Aryzta’s having reiterated its profitability figures despite the weak top-line figures is reassuring,” Andreas von Arx, an analyst at Helvea AG in Zurich, wrote in a note to clients today. “Aryzta offers an attractive long-term story based on the transformation strategy and has an excellent management team with a strong track record.”
UBS and Credit Suisse added 1.3 percent to 17.08 francs and 1.3 percent to 28.23 francs, respectively. A gauge of lenders contributed the most to the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s advance.
Addex Therapeutics Ltd. slumped 12 percent to 3.97 francs, extending its two-day decline to 38 percent, the biggest since December 2009. The biotechnology company said on May 31 after markets closed that it had fired 17 of its 19 employees including Chief Executive Officer Bharatt Chowrira and all its executive managers.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 9.8 percent less than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.