Swiss Stocks Advance to Three-Week High on Forecasts

Swiss stocks rose to a three-week high as investors weighed earnings forecasts, while mounting bets that the Federal Reserve will pare bond purchases this year limited gains in the final two hours of trading.

OC Oerlikon Corp. rose 1.2 percent after confirming its 2013 outlook. Meyer Burger Technology AG jumped 7.7 percent, climbing for a sixth day, after saying the photovoltaic market is recovering and orders will increase in the second half. Swiss Re Ltd. fell 2.3 percent after German peer Munich Re posted second-quarter net income below analysts’ estimates.

The SMI gained 0.2 percent to 7,996.79 at the close of trading in Zurich, having earlier advanced as much as 1.3 percent. The equity benchmark rallied 2.1 percent last week as the European Central Bank said interest rates will remain low for an extended period. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.2 percent today.

“Company earnings have been acceptable, but it’s the outlooks that convince investors,” Alessandro Fezzi, senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich, said. “Oerlikon is a good example for this today. The big news last week from the ECB is still palpable in the markets this week.”

The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the SMI was 28 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Equities

In the U.S., the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell for a second day, as investors awaited an address by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans for indications of the central bank’s policy.

Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, one of the most vocal critics of quantitative easing, yesterday signaled that the Federal Open Market Committee may consider paring bond purchases later this year.

“I would say that the committee is now closer to execution mode, pondering the right time to begin reducing its purchases, assuming there is no intervening reversal in economic momentum in coming months,” Fisher said in a speech in Portland, Oregon.

OC Oerlikon advanced 1.2 percent to 12.40 Swiss francs, the highest price since March 18. The textile-machinery maker said order intake, sales and operational profitability would be around last year’s level, reiterating predictions it made in March.

Meyer Burger rose 7.7 percent to 7.13 francs, for its biggest gain in a month. The supplier of machinery to solar-panel makers yesterday said it won two new customers in Asia who placed orders of 22 million francs ($23.7 million), in a further sign that demand in the photovoltaic market is recovering. It said it expects more orders during the rest of the 2013.

Signs Ahead

“We are still missing some important details such as order intake and an update on the full-year guidance,” Michael Foeth, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a note to clients today. “However, we believe the market will be focusing on encouraging forward-looking signs rather than poor full-year 2013 numbers.”

Health-care companies contributed the most to the gains on the SMI. Novartis AG climbed 0.7 percent to 67.90 francs and Roche Holding AG added 0.6 percent to 231.80 francs.

Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, dropped 2.3 percent to 73.10 francs. Munich Re, the largest, said second-quarter profit fell 35 percent, missing analysts’ estimates.

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