Stocks in Switzerland Advance, Extending Five-Year High

Stocks in Switzerland rose, extending the benchmark Swiss Market Index’s highest level in more than five years, as Chinese imports and exports increased more than forecast and Holcim Ltd. climbed after releasing earnings.

Holcim, the world’s largest cement maker, jumped the most in 19 months as cost cuts helped boost profitability in Europe and Latin America. Actelion Ltd. rallied to the highest since 2009 after saying its selexipag drug showed reduced pulmonary vascular resistance in a study. Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, extended a 21-month high.

The SMI advanced 1.5 percent to 8,093.02 at the close in Zurich, the highest level since January 2008. The gauge is on course for a ninth consecutive month of gains, which would be the longest winning streak since 1997. The SMI has rallied 19 percent this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 1.4 percent today. In the U.S., the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed at its fourth straight all-time high yesterday.

“Equity markets rise and rise,” said Roland Schuermann, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “Most indexes are at all-time highs. China showed good economic data, which supports the market further. Cash keeps flowing into stock markets.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 21 percent greater than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Chinese Trade

China’s exports rose 14.7 percent in April, the General Administration of Customs said, beating the 9.2 percent median forecast of analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Imports climbed 16.8 percent, exceeding the average projection of 13 percent.

In Germany, industrial production unexpectedly gained for a second month in March in a further sign that Europe’s largest economy is returning to growth. Output increased 1.2 percent from February, when it advanced 0.6 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said today. Economists had forecast a 0.1 percent drop, according to the median of 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Holcim, the biggest cement maker by revenue last year, surged 5.1 percent to 76.20 Swiss francs, the largest advance since October 2011. The margin based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose to 29.7 percent from 26.2 percent in Latin America and to 2.8 percent from 1.8 percent in Europe, the company said.

Actelion Study

Actelion gained 3.5 percent to 59.70 francs, the highest price since December 2009, as tests showed its selexipag drug showed significant reduced PVR in pulmonary arterial hypertension. The company said the data-monitoring committee unanimously recommended the continuation of the study.

Credit Suisse climbed 1 percent to 27.94 francs, a fifth day of increases.

Novartis AG advanced 1.9 percent to 70.25 francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s gain. The company said its Lucentis drug reduced legal blindness related to wet age-related macular degeneration in a study.

Meyer Burger Technology AG rallied 9.1 percent to 5.86 francs, the largest increase since Jan. 17. The supplier of machinery to solar-panel makers said it will get gross proceeds of 151.7 million francs ($162 million) after 99.6 percent of its subscription rights were exercised in a rights offer. Separately, Helvea AG raised the stock to neutral, the equivalent of hold, from reduce.

Analyst Upgrade

“Although we see continued downside risks for Meyer Burger in 2013 if order momentum doesn’t improve soon, we are upgrading our recommendation on diminishing financing risks for now, following the company’s capital increase,” Stefan Gaechter, an analyst at Helvea, wrote today.

Georg Fischer AG advanced 3 percent to 427 francs, a fourth day of gains. The maker of pipe products and car parts bought a majority stake in Turkey’s Hakan Plastik, a provider of plastic piping systems.

“We welcome the strategic acquisition in the booming Turkish market, which provides important access to the whole eastern European and Middle Eastern region,” Fabian Haecki, an analyst at Vontobel, wrote in a note to clients today. “For the group, we believe the acquisition will be earnings accretive in the region of about 3 percent.”

Kardex AG rose 2.1 percent to 34 francs as the maker of shelving systems and conveyor belts sold its Stow storage unit to France’s Averys. Proceeds, including debt, will be about 75 million euros ($98 million) to 80 million euros, Kardex said.

“The price is good for Kardex,” Michael Inauen, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank AG, wrote in a note. “The new Kardex could also become a takeover target.”

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