Swiss Stocks Are Little Changed as ECB Holds Rate

Swiss stocks were little changed near a four-year high as the European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

Credit Suisse Group AG climbed. Temenos Group AG advanced 5.2 percent after Morgan Stanley recommended buying the banking-software maker’s shares. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA fell as U.S. rival Tiffany & Co. said it sees profit at the low end of its forecast.

The Swiss Market Index dropped 0.1 percent to 7,143.73 at the close in Zurich. The gauge rallied 3.5 percent last week as U.S. lawmakers approved a compromise budget that avoided most scheduled deficit-reduction measures. The broader Swiss Performance Index fell 0.1 percent today.

“The start to the year has been really strong,” said Christian Zogg, who manages about $540 million as head of equity and fixed income at LLB Asset Management AG in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. “We’re seeing investors taking a breather. I don’t think the advance will go on like this, though stocks still have a good risk premium.”

The number of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 67 percent higher than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

ECB policy makers meeting in Frankfurt today left the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, as predicted by 50 out of 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Speaking in Frankfurt today, ECB President Mario Draghi said the euro-area economy will slowly return to health in 2013 as the region’s bond markets stabilize after three years of turmoil.

U.S. Economy

In the U.S., a Labor Department report showed that more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week. Jobless claims increased to 371,000 in the week ended Jan. 5, from a revised 367,000 the previous week. The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 365,000.

Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, gained 0.5 percent to 25.08 Swiss francs after agreeing to sell its exchange-traded funds unit to BlackRock Inc. Credit Suisse didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.

Temenos jumped 5.2 percent to 18.30 francs as Morgan Stanley raised the stock to overweight from equal weight, meaning investors should buy the shares.

Actelion Ltd. advanced 1.4 percent to 47.15 francs, rising for a sixth day. That’s the stock’s longest winning streak since September.

Richemont, the owner of the Cartier brand, slid 2.1 percent to 76 francs, and Swatch Group AG, the largest maker of Swiss watches, declined 0.8 percent to 495.60 francs. Tiffany, the world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer, said full-year earnings will be at the low end of its forecast after holiday sales growth slowed in the Americas and Asia.

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