Swiss Stocks Advance as U.S. Lawmakers Begin Debt Talks

Swiss stocks rose for a second day, trimming a weekly decline, as U.S. President Barack Obama met House Republican leaders, fueling optimism they will agree on raising the debt limit to avoid a default.

Roche Holding AG climbed 1.8 percent after its Genentech unit said the U.S. accepted an application for the use of one of its drugs to treat a skin condition. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA gained 1.8 percent after saying its Net-a-Porter unit isn’t for sale. Geberit AG declined 1.6 percent after Goldman Sachs Group AG downgraded the shares.

The Swiss Market Index added 1.1 percent to 7,936.08 at the close of trading in Zurich, paring its drop this week to 0.1 percent. The gauge posted its biggest two-day increase since June after slipping 2.4 percent in the first three days of the week as U.S. lawmakers wrangled over raising the borrowing limit and passing a budget required to lift the partial shutdown of the government. The broader Swiss Performance Index increased 1 percent today.

We’re seeing “stronger markets on political hopes,” Guy Foster, head of portfolio strategy at Brewin Dolphin Ltd., which manages 28 billion pounds ($45 billion), wrote in a note. “Perceived political risks are falling. The political situation in the U.S. remains fluid, with a short-term debt ceiling apparently being offered.”

Obama met House Republican leaders at the White House yesterday after House Speaker John Boehner proposed a short-term increase to the country’s $16.7 trillion borrowing authority that would extend the deadline for a solution to Nov. 22 from Oct. 17.

Debt Increase

The U.S. president would probably sign a debt-limit increase without policy conditions, according to a White House press secretary. A fiscal impasse between Democrats and Republicans has led to a partial government shutdown since Oct. 1 and raised concern they may not agree to a debt-ceiling increase before the Treasury runs out of extraordinary measures to avoid breaching the limit on Oct. 17.

Roche, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, added 1.8 percent to 238.90 Swiss francs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepted an application for the use of the Xolair drug in patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria, a skin condition, if their symptoms continue even after using antihistamines, Genentech said in a statement.

Richemont, Swatch

Richemont gained 1.8 percent to 92.35 francs after the world’s biggest jewelry maker said it is not selling its online clothes retailer Net-a-Porter. Yoox SpA held talks with Richemont about a merger with Net-a-Porter, though discussions have stalled, Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore reported this week, without saying where it got the information.

“Richemont has a long-standing policy of not commenting on market rumors,” the company said after markets closed yesterday. “Exceptionally in this case, Richemont wishes to make it clear that The Net-A-Porter Group is not for sale.”

Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, advanced 1.8 percent to 588.50 francs.

Actelion Ltd. rallied 4 percent to 63.55 francs, its biggest gain since July 2012. Vontobel Holding AG raised its 12-month price estimate on the drugmaker to 79 francs from 72 francs, saying its Opsumit treatment will probably win FDA approval this month.

Geberit fell 1.6 percent to 236.90 francs. Goldman Sachs downgraded the maker of toilets and bathroom piping to sell from neutral, saying its product pricing in Europe could be challenged by new competitors, and that its valuation is high relative to peers. Geberit is trading at 21.01 times estimated earnings, compared with 16.7 times for the Stoxx Europe 600 Construction and Mining Index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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