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Swiss Stocks Little Changed as Geberit Rises on Earnings

Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks were little changed, with the Swiss Market Index posting a second monthly gain, as Geberit AG reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Geberit rose the most in four years as the maker of toilets and plumbing also confirmed its full-year forecasts for sales and profitability. Straumann Holding AG climbed 4.6 percent. Novartis AG fell, for the biggest drag on the SMI.

The SMI gained 0.1 percent to 8,234.29 at the close of trading in Zurich after the Federal Reserve yesterday refrained from giving a strong signal that it will prolong asset purchases. The equity benchmark has climbed 2.6 percent this month as U.S. lawmakers agreed to increase the federal government’s debt limit and end a partial shutdown. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.1 percent today.

“Market sentiment has been damped a bit by last night’s statement by the Fed,” said John Plassard, vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “Investors were hoping for a clear signal that tapering would be delayed until March, and this has been rattled a bit now. Nevertheless, company earnings are going well and are supporting markets.”

In the U.S. yesterday, the Federal Open Market Committee deciding against reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases. The policy makers dropped their warning from last month’s meeting that “the tightening of financial conditions observed in recent months -- if sustained -- could slow the pace of improvement in the economy and labor market”.

Bond Buying

The Fed will probably wait until its March meeting to begin slowing its monthly asset purchases, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists before the Oct. 29-30 meeting. The 16-day shutdown of the U.S. government earlier this month may reduce annualized economic growth in the fourth quarter by 0.3 percentage points, according to the survey, which was conducted on Oct. 17-18.

Geberit jumped 7.4 percent to 271.30 Swiss francs, the highest price since its initial public offering in 1999. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 23 percent to 170.1 million francs ($188 million) in the third quarter. That beat the 153.9 million-franc average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Straumann increased 4.6 percent to 180.60 francs. The chief executive officer of the world’s largest maker of dental implants said that it continues to target an Ebit margin of more than 20 percent in the medium term. The company also posted third-quarter revenue of 155.2 million francs, missing the 156.5 million-franc average analyst projection.

‘Modest Growth’

“Straumann has returned to modest growth in the third quarter, which is reassuring,” David Kaegi, an analyst at J. Safra Sarasin, wrote in a note to clients. “This seems sustainable with strong growth in North America and economies in Europe slowly stabilizing.”

Adecco SA, the world’s largest provider of temporary workers, gained 2.8 percent to 66.95 francs as Randstad Holding NV, the second-biggest recruitment company, posted better-than-forecast third-quarter profit.

Novartis, which accounts for 19 percent of the SMI, lost 0.7 percent to 70.45 francs. Rivals AstraZeneca Plc and Novo Nordisk A/S reported profit that missed analysts’ forecasts.

Sika AG fell 1.8 percent to 2,861 francs. The maker of construction chemicals rallied 8.3 percent yesterday to its highest price in at least 24 years after raising its sales target for the full year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at

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