18 November 2016 – Swiss and global market roundup.
Brought to you by Investec Switzerland.
Swiss stocks continued to rise this week, in line with other global stocks thanks to a strong performance from financials which gained as investors weighted the prospects of higher interest rates in the US.
Stocks in the financial sector advanced after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the US central bank is close to lifting interest rates as the economy continues to strengthen and signaled her intention to remain at the helm until her term ends in January 2018. Yellen also reiterated that future rate increases are expected to be gradual, sending a positive signal to equity markets. Bonds sold off as investors being to weigh up what a Trump presidency means for taxes, infrastructure projects and defense spending in the US and whether suggested policies will lead to faster inflation and stronger growth.
Closer to home, analysts from the ZEW Financial Market Survey & Indicator of Economic Sentiment survey say that expectations of economic growth in Switzerland have hardly changed. According to the survey, the current economic situation in Switzerland remains “normal” and not expected to change in the next six months. Analysts go on to say that stock-market investors are positive, especially towards US markets.
In company news, Zurich Insurance Group AG raised its target for cost cuts and dropped plans to eliminate jobs as Chief Executive Officer Mario Greco overhauls Switzerland’s largest insurer. The new plan is set to cut costs by $1.5 billion before 2019. LafargeHolcim Ltd. is among the losers this week as it cuts its 2018 profit and cash flow targets. The company raised its dividend despite the world’s largest cement maker struggles to convince investors of the merits of its merger more than a year ago of French and Swiss competitors.