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Stocks in Switzerland Rise Before Start of U.S. Earnings

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July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks climbed, after two consecutive weeks of gains, amid optimism that the U.S. economy will improve at a faster pace, and as investors awaited the start of the earnings season.

Givaudan AG and Cie Financiere Richemont SA advanced after Barclays Plc forecast an improvement in European sales of luxury goods in the second half. Charles Voegele Holding AG fell to its lowest price since at least 1999 as Tages-Anzeiger reported it would keep businesses in profitable markets and sell the rest.

The Swiss Market Index rose 1.1 percent to 7,863.48 at the close of trading in Zurich, its highest level since June 4. The index gained 1.3 percent last week as data showed the U.S. economy created more jobs last month than forecast, and the European Central Bank and the Bank of England said interest rates will remain low for an extended period of time. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 1.1 percent today.

“Markets are catching up to the U.S. close,” Ion-Marc Valahu, co-founder and fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva, wrote in an e-mail. “Investors are slowly digesting/re-pricing the upside potential of the economic growth in the U.S.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 32 percent lower than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Euro-area finance ministers met in Brussels today to discuss Greece’s progress in meeting the conditions needed to obtain further aid from the International Monetary Fund, ECB and European Commission. The mission that oversees euro-area bailouts has reached an agreement on new economic and deficit-reduction steps, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said as he arrived for the talks.

Alcoa Results

Alcoa Inc. will start the second-quarter U.S. earnings season after the market closes today, when the biggest U.S. aluminum producer becomes the first company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average to report results.

Givaudan SA, the world’s largest maker of flavorings, advanced 2.3 percent to 1,275 Swiss francs, its highest price since May 22.

Richemont, the owner of the Cartier brand, gained 1.8 percent to 86 francs. Barclays predicted a pickup in luxury sales in Europe in the second half, with strong sales in the U.S., and a better-than-forecast performance in Japan.

Swatch Group AG, the largest maker of Swiss watches, added 1.7 percent to 539 francs.

Novartis Study

Novartis AG climbed 1.3 percent to 68.50 francs. The pharmaceutical company said its secukinumab psoriasis drug demonstrated superiority in a phase-III comparison with Enbrel, a treatment developed by Amgen Inc. and sold by Pfizer Inc. outside the U.S., as it met all primary and secondary objectives in a study.

Swiss Re AG, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, rose 1.6 percent to 71.40 francs. A gauge of insurers performed the best of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 Europe Index.

Clariant AG gained 2 percent to 13.61 francs. The company plans to reach its 2015 profitability target by nurturing growth units such as catalysts and chemicals for personal care, and ruled out any large acquisitions.

Charles Voegele slid 5.2 percent to 7.54 francs. The Swiss clothing retailer will keep businesses in profitable markets including Switzerland and Austria and sell the rest, Tages-Anzeiger reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Zehnder Group AG tumbled 6.7 percent to 39.60 francs. The maker of radiators and ventilation systems forecast full-year sales at the same level as 2012 and a drop in operating profit as poor winter weather delayed construction projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Stoukas in Athens at astoukas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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