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Swiss stocks attract investors

The Swiss stock market has been astounding its European competitors, pushing ahead in what has otherwise been a weaker market scenario for other bourses across Europe.

The market touched 7846.80 points at the end of Monday's trading, up 25.10 points or 0.3 per cent over Friday's close.

The Swiss Market Index finished on Friday 1.3 per cent higher than the previous week boosted by the strong performance of Nestlé, Novartis and Roche. These three Swiss groups have all benefited from increased investor interest in defensive stocks.

"Traders are turning away from the new economy and back towards the old economy stocks," said Cedric Levy, an economist at Credit Suisse in Zurich.

More than 50 per cent of the Swiss Market Index is made up, in value terms, by Nestlé, Novartis and Roche. New technology, telecommunications and media stocks are less important in the Swiss bourse than on many other markets elsewhere in Europe.

"High-techs, telecoms and media are out of favour with the market makers," said Elenore Sherraz at Bank Leu in Geneva "This is helping the Swiss stock market push ahead while other European bourses are left behind."

Analysts expect the move upwards on the Swiss stock market to continue in the short-term. However concerns about the Swiss bourse's gains will arise when traders turn back to the new economy stocks.

Following the strength of last week the market's mood this week is much more subdued, with the London and New York stock exchanges closed Monday, and most European bourses closed Thursday for the Ascension Day Holiday.

by Tom O'Brien.

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