After an early surge and a subsequent long spell in positive territory, the Switzerland stock market retreated in the final hour on Tuesday to end the session with just modest gains.
While reports showing a slowdown in new coronavirus infections and fatalities in several parts of Europe lifted the mood early on, data showing a surge in Switzerland’s unemployment probably prompted investors to lighten commitments.
The benchmark SMI ended up 52.26 points, or 0.55%, at 9,514.60, after having rallied to a high of 9,695.84 early on in the session.
Adecco gained about 6.2%, Richemont ended stronger by 5.4%, Swiss Lift Holding firmed up 4.3%, Givaudan gained 4.1% and Swiss Re added 3.75%.
Credit Suisse, ABB, Swatch Group, Sika, Swisscom, LafargeHolcim and Zurich Insurance Group also ended sharply higher.
Shares of eyecare company Alcon declined more than 2%. The company scrapped its proposed 2019 dividend and withdrew its 2020 guidance due to the coronavirus pandemic. It had previously proposed a dividend of 0.19 Swiss francs for 2019.
In the midcap section, Dufry gained more than 7.5%. Baloise Holding notched up a gain of 7.4% and Flughafen Zurich surged up 7.2%. Dorma Kaba Holding and Georg Fischer ended higher by 5.8% and 5.1%, respectively.
According to the data released by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO, the jobless rate increased to a seasonally adjusted 2.8% in March from 2.6% in February. This was in line with economists’ expectations.
On an unadjusted basis, the unemployment rate rose to 2.9% in March from 2.5% in the preceding month.
In March, the number of unemployed persons increased by 23,283 from the previous month to 135,624.
The youth unemployment rate, which applies to the 15 to 24 age group, increased to 2.8% in March from 2.3% in the previous month.
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