Stocks in Switzerland Advance for a Third Day

Stocks in Switzerland gained for a third day as investors weighed China’s trade data and awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June meeting.

Novartis AG led gaining shares. Lonza Group AG fell 1.5 percent after being added to UBS AG’s least preferred list.

The Swiss Market Index rose 0.4 percent to 7,971.62 at the close of trading in Zurich, its highest level since May 30. The gauge has rallied 2.4 percent so far this week amid optimism economic data and corporate earnings will improve. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 0.3 percent today.

“If you look at the China data, it doesn’t look so good as it clearly signals a slower growth trend,” said Alessandro Fezzi, senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich. “There is hope for more details from the Fed minutes on the planned tapering.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 33 percent lower than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its June 18-19 meeting at 2 p.m. Washington time today. Speaking after that meeting, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank may pare its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases this year and end them by mid-2014 if the U.S. economy performs as the Fed forecasts.

China Trade

In China, a report from the General Administration of Customs in Beijing showed that China’s exports in June fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey had called for a 3.7 percent gain. Imports dropped 0.7 percent last month, compared with the median projection of a 6 percent increase.

Novartis advanced 1.1 percent to 69.85 francs, advancing for a third day. The drugmaker has rallied 22 percent so far this year.

Leclanche SA climbed 3.8 percent to 4.65 francs. The century-old battery maker rose 44 percent yesterday after securing a 17 million-franc ($17.6-million) loan.

Bachem Holding AG jumped 5 percent to 41.90 francs. The maker of pharmaceutical ingredients said it found a simpler way to make a multiple sclerosis drug with a global market of more than $4 billion.

Lonza fell 1.5 percent to 73.85 francs after UBS added the drug-ingredients maker to its “least preferred” list ahead of first-half results on July 25.

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