Swiss stocks advanced before Federal Reserve policy makers wrap up a meeting today that may shed light on future monetary policy in the world’s largest economy.
SGS SA, the world’s largest product-inspection company, and Adecco SA were among the biggest gainers. Meyer Burger Technology AG fell 3 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG advised investors to sell the shares.
The Swiss Market Index rose 0.4 percent to 7,731.82 at the close in Zurich. The benchmark gauge has fallen for four straight weeks amid speculation the Fed will start to reduce its bond-purchasing program. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.4 percent today.
The number of shares trading hands on SMI-listed companies was 23 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“Everyone is fearful,” said Herbert Perus, who helps oversee about $36 billion as head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna. “Fear of the economy, fear of rising rates, fear of duration, fear of Bernanke. Bernanke has clearly stated a goal for employment to be much better” before he removes stimulus. “And we are not there yet. And I expect him to say just that today.”
The Federal Open Market Committee ends a two-day policy meeting today, with Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke holding a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in Washington. Bernanke on May 22 said in Congress the bank could taper quantitative easing if economic growth is sustained.
The Swiss Parliament’s lower house rejected a bill aimed at allowing the country’s 300 banks to cooperate with the U.S. to help catch wealthy tax evaders. The upper house had earlier approved the bill in a second round of voting, affirming its verdict of last week. The government has said it has no other plans in the event the bill fails.
SGS gained 1.6 percent to 2,181 Swiss francs. Adecco rose 1.9 percent to 54.30 francs.
Meyer Burger declined 3 percent to 6.84 francs, its lowest price in a month. The supplier of machinery to solar-panel makers was cut to underperform, a rating similar to sell, from neutral at Credit Suisse, which cited “ample risks” the company may risk its 2013 sales guidance.