Swiss Market Ends Higher; Bank Stocks Rise Sharply

The Switzerland stock market ended moderately higher on Wednesday, lifted by hopes about additional fiscal stimulus in the U.S., and optimism about more coronavirus vaccines getting the nod from governments across the world.

Rising number of new cases of Coronavirus in several countries, and tighter lockdown restrictions imposed by some countries weighed on stocks early on in the session.

The benchmark S&P/TSX Composite Index, which faltered after a flat start, slipped again after a modest recovery before gaining in strength to end the day on a firm note. The index ended with a gain of 52.99 points or 0.5% at 10,747.08, after scaling a low of 10,620.74 and a high of 10,759.20.

Credit Suisse gained 5.5%. LafargeHolcim ended 5.1% up, while UBS Group, Swiss Life Holding, ABB, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance Group gained 3 to 4.3%.

Partners Group, Geberit and SGS also ended notably higher, while Alcon, Nestle, Roche Holding and Givaudan finished lower by 0.8 to 1.4%.

In the Swiss Mid Price Index, Julius Baer climbed 5.3%. Helvetia gained 3.1%, Clariant advanved 2.8%, OC Oerlikon Corp moved up 2.55% and Baloise Holding ended 2.1% up. AMS and Adecco gained 1.75% and 1.65%, respectively.

Among the losers, Kuehne & Nagel and Tecan Group both ended lower by about 2.6%. Dufry eased 1.7%, while Lindt & Spruengli, PSP Swiss Property, VAT Group, Cembra Money Bank, SIG Combibloc and Temenos Group lost 0.9 to 1.1%.

The Swiss government today decided to extend restrictions, including the continued closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and museums, until end of February. The authorities said they had put a number of stricter measures to the cantons for consultation.

These could be adopted nationwide, or they could be put in place in specific cantons if the situation deteriorates, the government said.

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