Swiss Market Ends Higher For 2nd Straight Day

The Switzerland stock market ended moderately higher on Thursday, with investors reacting positively to comments from U.S. President Donald Trump about a potential trade deal with China, and digesting Swiss National Bank's policy announcement and growth outlook.

The benchmark SMI ended up 46.05 points, or 0.44%, at 10,451.36, after scaling a low of 10,375.56 and a high of 10,492.35 in the session.

On Wednesday, the SMI ended up 14.78 points, or 0.14%, at 10,405.31.

Credit Suisse topped the list of gainers in the SMI index, rising as much as 2.85%. ABB gained 2.5% and UBS Group gained nearly 2%, while Sika gained about 1.2%.

Zurich Insurance Group, Richemont, Swiss Re, Alcon, Swatch Group, Givaudan, Swiss Life Holding and LafargeHolcim also ended on a firm note.

Nestle ended flat. The company said it would sell its U.S. ice cream business to Froneri in a deal valued at $4 billion, moving control of brands including Häagen-Dazs to a joint venture the group set up in 2016.

Among the stocks in the midcap section, Julius Baer and Georg Fischer both ended higher by about 2.3%. Clariant advanced 2.1%, while Temenos Group and VAT Group added 1.75% and 1.67%, respectively.

Bucher Industries, OC Oerlikon Corp, Ems Chemie Holding, Logitech International and Baloise Holding gained 1 to 1.4%.

Data released by the Federal Statistical Office showed Switzerland's producer and import prices declined at a faster-than-expected rate in November, falling 2.5% year-on-year. Economists had expected a 2.2% fall.

On a monthly basis, producer and import prices fell 0.4% in November, while economists had expected the prices to remain unchanged.

The producer prices fell 0.3% monthly in November and dropped 1.2% year-on-year, the same as in October.

Switzerland's central bank maintained its negative interest rates and expressed willingness to intervene in the currency market as required.

The Swiss National Bank retained its policy rate and interest on sight deposits at the SNB at -0.75%, in line with expectations.

The bank said the franc remains highly valued, and the situation on the foreign exchange market is still fragile.

Based on the assumption that the policy rate will remain at the current level, the bank forecast inflation at 0.4% this year, 0.1% next year and 0.5% for 2021.

The economy is forecast to expand around 1% in 2019, and between 1.5% and 2% in 2020.

Meanwhile, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, said the Swiss economy is set to see only a moderate growth next year.

In the winter economic forecast, released Thursday, the expert group of federal government said a gradual economic upturn is not anticipated until 2021.

The agency lifted its growth forecast for 2019 to 0.9% from 0.8%, while the outlook for 2020 was retained at 1.7%. Growth is forecast to ease to 1.2 percent in 2021.

The expert group of the federal government said consumer prices will rise 0.4% this year, instead of 0.5% estimated in September.

The agency downgraded inflation forecast to 0.1% from 0.4% percent for next year. For 2021, inflation is seen at 0.4%.



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