Switzerland Stocks Advance, Snapping Four-Day Decline

Swiss stocks advanced, snapping four days of declines, as Nestle SA rebounded and a report showed the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits was little changed last week.

Nestle, the heaviest-weighted stock in the benchmark index, rose 1.1 percent as Zuercher Kantonalbank AG raised its recommendation on the shares. Syngenta AG gained the most since July after posting a 6 percent increase in revenue. Givaudan SA, the world’s largest maker of flavorings, added 2.8 percent, following a gauge of European chemical producers higher. Sonova Holding AG fell the most since May after Deutsche Bank AG downgraded the shares.

The Swiss Market Index climbed 0.6 percent to 7,578.97 at the close of trading in Zurich. The gauge fell 2.4 percent yesterday, its biggest decline in 17 months. The equity benchmark has still rallied 11 percent this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget and reports fueled optimism that the world’s biggest economy is recovering. The broader Swiss Performance Index rose 0.5 percent today.

“Markets are rebounding from yesterday’s sharp fall,” said Witold Bahrke, who helps oversee $55 billion as senior strategist at PFA Pension A/S in Copenhagen. “Markets are still lacking direction, being stuck in a tug-of-war between global growth fears and central bank stimulus.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 42 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Jobless

In the U.S., applications for jobless insurance payments increased by 4,000 to 352,000 in the week ended April 13, in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Nestle rose 1.1 percent to 65 Swiss francs, rebounding from earlier losses of as much as 2.4 percent. The world’s biggest food maker reported a 4.3 percent increase in first-quarter sales, excluding acquisitions, divestments and currency swings. That fell short of the 4.7 percent average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Zuercher Kantonalbank raised its recommendation on the shares to overweight from market weight. “We assume that the first quarter was the low point,” Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at ZKB, wrote in a note.

Syngenta advanced 3 percent to 393.60 francs after the world’s largest maker of crop chemicals posted a 6 percent increase in first-quarter sales to $4.6 billion, meeting forecasts. The company said its Brazilian operations helped offset weaker demand in Europe.

Givaudan Rises

Givaudan gained 2.8 percent to 1,150 francs. A gauge of chemical stocks was among the best performing industry groups on the Stoxx 600 Europe Index.

Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest supplier of off-shore oil rigs, surged 4.1 percent to 45.55 francs, snapping five days of losses.

Roche Holding AG, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, advanced 1.2 percent to 226.80 francs. Drugmaker Actelion Ltd. gained 1.3 percent to 53.25 francs. A gauge of health care stocks posted the biggest gain on the Stoxx 600.

UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s two largest banks, slid 1.8 percent to 14.24 francs and 1.8 percent to 25.27 francs, respectively. A measure of bank stocks was the worst performer on the Stoxx 600.

Sonova dropped 7.1 percent to 96.45 francs. Deutsche Bank AG cut its recommendation on the largest hearing-aid maker to sell from hold, citing the possibility of further costs arising from the voluntary recall of an implant in 2006.