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Swiss Stocks Advance as Investors Await Fed Signals

Stocks in Switzerland rose, rebounding from a fourth straight week of losses, as investors awaited this week’s Federal Reserve meeting for indications on the duration of stimulus measures.

Cie. Financiere Richemont SA climbed 1.5 percent after HSBC Holdings Plc upgraded the luxury-goods company. Roche Holding AG and Novartis AG followed a rally in European drugmakers. ABB Ltd. increased 2.6 percent after appointing a new chief executive officer.

The Swiss Market Index rallied 1.2 percent to 7,729.71 at the close in Zurich, the biggest gain in more than a week. The benchmark gauge fell 1.9 percent last week for its longest stretch of losses in 13 months. It has pared this year’s advance to 13 percent amid speculation the Fed will start to taper its bond-purchase program. The broader Swiss Performance Index also rose 1.2 percent today.

“The market is focused on the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, and concerns of an earlier-than-expected tapering were exaggerated,” said Alessandro Fezzi, a senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich. “I expect the Fed to confirm its current monetary policy stance and point to only moderate economic improvements. Richemont is also up today on the back of a positive analyst note.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 14 percent lower than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Fed Meeting

The Fed will begin a two-day policy meeting tomorrow, with Chairman Ben S. Bernanke scheduled to speak on Wednesday. Bernanke will also deliver his semi-annual monetary policy report to Congress on July 17-18.

Recent losses in equities may provide opportunities. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. shares, which fell 2.5 percent from its May 21 record through the end of last week, rallied an average 16 percent over two years the last four times the Fed started raising interest rates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Fed Bank of New York’s general economic measure, known as the Empire State index, rose to 7.8 this month, the highest since March, from minus 1.4 in May. Readings of greater than zero signal manufacturing expansion in New York, northern New Jersey and southern Connecticut. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had called for a reading of zero.

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations met at a two-day summit in Northern Ireland that started today. U.S. President Barack Obama said at the summit his country will be the host for the first round of negotiations on a trade agreement with the European Union.

Richemont Upgrade

Richemont advanced 1.5 percent to 84.35 Swiss francs. HSBC upgraded its recommendation on the shares to overweight, equivalent of buy, from neutral. The brokerage raised its 12-month price estimate to 104 francs from 82 francs, saying it expects an increase in sales and earnings for the company’s Cartier brand.

Roche, the biggest maker of cancer drugs, climbed 1.9 percent to 231.10 francs. Novartis added 1.3 percent to 67.75 francs. A gauge of health-care stocks in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.8 percent.

ABB rallied 2.6 percent to 20.71 francs, the biggest advance since April 24, as the world’s largest supplier of power grids appointed Ulrich Spiesshofer as its new CEO. Spiesshofer, who will replace Joe Hogan in September, is the company’s head of discrete automation and motion.

Swiss Re AG gained 1.5 percent to 69.45 francs. CEO Michel Lies said in an interview with Finanz & Wirtschaft that his priority is growing the reinsurer’s dividend.

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