Stocks in Switzerland advanced the most in six weeks, paring the Swiss Market Index’s weekly decline, after U.S. payrolls gained more than estimated while the unemployment rate increased to 7.6 percent.
Swiss Life Holding AG led insurers higher, rising the most since April. Roche Holding AG added 3 percent after Liberum Capital upgraded the drugmaker’s shares.
The SMI climbed 2.1 percent to 7,784.84 at the close of trading in Zurich, the biggest jump since April 23. The gauge has still fallen 2 percent this week as the European Central Bank refrained from announcing unconventional stimulus measures and investors speculated the Federal Reserve will start paring its bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 2 percent today.
“The job creation is a little bit better but the unemployment rate is a little bit higher,” said John Plassard, who helps oversee $28 billion as vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “One of the reasons to stop or lower QE is if the unemployment rate is lower than 6.5 percent. We don’t have the indication that the QE is going to end in the next months based on this.”
A Labor Department report showed U.S. payrolls rose by 175,000 last month after a revised 149,000 increase in April that was smaller than first estimated. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 163,000 gain. The unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent.
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke in May suggested the central bank could curtail its bond buying if the job market improves in a “real and sustainable way.”
The SMI has declined for three straight weeks, the longest stretch of losses this year. The volume of shares changing hands was 15 percent greater than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Swiss Life, Switzerland’s biggest life insurer, gained 3.6 percent to 160 Swiss francs as European insurance shares advanced. Swiss Re AG, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, rose 3.5 percent to 69.10 francs. Zurich Insurance Group AG added 1.5 percent to 246.80 francs.
UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG increased 3.4 percent to 16.95 francs and 3.1 percent to 27.32 francs, respectively, as bank shares rallied.
Roche rose 3 percent to 231.50 francs. Liberum Capital upgraded the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs to buy from hold, citing its stable earnings and attractive dividend.
Adecco SA, the biggest supplier of temporary workers, added 3 percent to 52.95 francs, snapping seven days of losses.
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise added 1.9 percent to 474.50 francs, rebounding from two days of losses. The company said in a statement late yesterday that it’s not one of the cantonal banks being investigated by or collaborating with U.S. authorities over tax avoidance.
“U.S. persons have never been a target market for BCV and BCV has never conducted client acquisition activities on U.S. soil,” the bank said.