Swiss Stocks Climb to Their Highest Level in Four Weeks

Swiss stocks rose to their highest level in four weeks as U.S. President Barack Obama postponed a decision on whether to take military action against Syria.

Schaffner Holding AG gained 0.9 percent after the maker of electric components said that sales will grow at a faster pace in its fiscal second half than they did in the first half. Syngenta AG dropped 1.5 percent for the biggest drag on the Swiss Market Index.

The SMI rose 0.2 percent to 8,051.31 at the close of trading in Zurich. The equity benchmark has surged 18 percent this year as central banks around the world pledged to leave interest rates low for a prolonged period of time. The broader Swiss Performance Index added 0.1 percent today.

“The Syria situation has eased a bit, so that’s a short-term positive,” said Alessandro Fezzi, a senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich. “Before we know it, Fed tapering will be the talk of the town again, and until then we can expect a tendency of sideways trading.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 9.7 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The equity benchmark has still fallen 4.2 percent from this year’s high on May 22 as the Federal Reserve said it may reduce its monthly bond purchases if the economy improves in line with its forecasts.

Fed Meeting

The Fed holds a policy meeting on Sept. 17-18 to decide whether to slow the pace of its asset purchases. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said that the central bank may consider tapering if the economy grows in line with its forecasts.

Obama said yesterday in an address from Washington that he will pursue a proposal by Russia to have Syria surrender its stockpiles of chemical weapons to international authorities. He had said he would ask Congress to authorize the use of military force against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad following chemical-weapon attacks on Aug. 21 that the U.S. says killed more than 1,400 people.

“It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments,” Obama said from the White House. “But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.”

Schaffner advanced 0.9 percent to 217 Swiss francs. Sales for the year ending Sept. 30 will probably exceed the previous year’s 176.9 million francs ($190 million), the company said in a statement.

Syngenta lost 1.5 percent to 367.90 francs for the biggest decline on the SMI.

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