Stocks in Switzerland Rise; UBS Advances, Holcim Declines

Swiss stocks rose for a third day, their longest winning streak in two weeks, as investors awaited U.S. President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

UBS AG posted the largest gain on the benchmark Swiss Market Index. Swisscom AG, Switzerland’s biggest phone company, advanced 0.7 percent. Holcim Ltd., the world’s largest cement maker, slipped 0.6 percent.

The SMI advanced 0.3 percent to 7,427.06 at the close of trading in Zurich, after earlier dropping as much as 0.2 percent. The gauge has rallied 8.9 percent this year, led by gains of more than 20 percent in Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore driller, and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 0.2 percent today.

“We’re not going to return to a similar situation we had in the past two years where concerns over the euro-zone crisis will pop up again and lead to a prolonged drop in the market,” said Konstantin Giantiroglou, head of investment advisory at Neue Aargauer Bank in Brugg, Switzerland. “We’ll get further confirmation in the next few weeks that the economy is slowly improving in Europe, which will be the basis for the next up move. It’s a transitional period and the market has paused; we had huge gains in January which we have to digest.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 20 percent less than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Obama delivers his State of the Union address from 9 p.m. in Washington. He will make proposals for spending on infrastructure, clean energy and education, according to an administration official briefed on the speech.

Franc Cap

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan predicted that the Swiss franc will continue to weaken against the euro. The SNB will apply the franc cap “without restrictions,” he said in a speech in Geneva, adding that the central bank will take additional measures if necessary.

UBS advanced 2.7 percent to 15.62 francs. The U.K.’s financial regulator fined Switzerland’s biggest lender 9.45 million pounds ($14.8 million) for failing to carry out sufficient due diligence on American International Group Inc.’s Enhanced Variable Rate Fund before selling it to customers. The bank qualified for a 30 percent discount on the fine as it agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation, the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority said.

Swisscom added 2.90 francs to 407 francs, rising for a third consecutive day. The shares dropped 1.1 percent last week as the phone company forecast earnings for 2013 that missed analysts’ estimates.

Holcim slipped 45 centimes to 70.20 francs, dropping for the third time in four days.

Actelion Ltd., the Swiss maker of the Tracleer lung drug, declined 0.7 percent to 44.65 francs.

Syngenta AG, the world’s largest agro-chemical company, lost 0.8 percent to 390.30 francs, for the worst performance on the SMI.

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