Swiss stocks were little changed, with the benchmark gauge completing its biggest weekly gain in 10, as data showed U.S. payrolls climbed less than projected, while the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined.
Sonova Holding AG jumped 3.6 percent after UBS AG recommended buying shares in the maker of hearing aids. Schindler Holding AG added 2.1 percent after Exane BNP Paribas SA upgraded the stock.
The Swiss Market Index added 0.2 percent to 7,950.78 at the close after briefly falling as much as 0.7 percent as President Vladimir Putin said Russia will keep supporting the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad if strikes start. The gauge has lost 5.4 percent since May 22 as the Federal Reserve said it may pare bond purchases if the economy improves sustainably. The broader Swiss Performance Index gained 0.3 percent today.
“The data is really a mixed bag with positives and negatives offsetting each other,” said Reto Huenerwadel, a senior economist at UBS in Zurich. “Predicting the outcome of the Fed meeting this month isn’t at all clear cut.”
The Fed holds a policy meeting on Sept. 17-18 to decide whether to slow the pace of its bond-purchase program. Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said that the central bank may consider tapering if the employment outlook improves substantially and the economy grows as forecast.
The gain of 169,000 workers in the U.S. last month followed a revised 104,000 rise in July that was smaller than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 96 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an August increase of 180,000. Unemployment dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008.
The SMI gained 2.6 percent this week as the European Central Bank said it will maintain its accommodative monetary policy and Chinese manufacturing in August surpassed estimates.
Sonova advanced 3.6 percent to 110 Swiss francs after UBS raised its rating on the stock to buy from neutral. The bank also increased its price estimate by 33 percent to 130 francs.
“Sonova’s relatively early entry in hearing implants gives us more confidence as to the medium-term growth potential for the company,” Martin Wales, an analyst at UBS, wrote in a report. “We believe the growth potential of the hearing-implant business is underappreciated by the market.”
Schindler gained 2.1 percent to 134 francs after Exane upgraded the stock to outperform from neutral, meaning investors should buy the shares.
“We see the recent underperformance as presenting an attractive entry point,” Olivier Esnou, an analyst at Exane, wrote in a note. “The story of resilient growth and strong returns continues to offer a strong proposition.”
Clariant AG added 2.4 percent to 15.89 francs in Zurich. Nomura Holdings Inc. raised its recommendation on the specialty chemicals maker to buy from reduce, citing its “impressive repositioning.” The brokerage also said that Clariant’s acquisition of Sued-Chemie and disposal of lower-margin businesses have put it on a sustainable growth trajectory.
The volume of shares trading hands today in SMI-listed companies was 12 percent greater than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.