Swiss Stocks Decline as Merkel Restates Opposition to Euro Bonds

Swiss stocks (SMI) declined after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she remained opposed to common euro-area debt sales, offsetting a report that showed German business confidence unexpectedly increased in November.

Novartis AG (NOVN), which accounts for 19 percent of the benchmark Swiss Market Index, retreated. Transocean Ltd. (RIG), an offshore drilling contractor, fell 1.8 percent.

The SMI, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, lost 0.5 percent to 5,356.96 at the close in Zurich. The gauge has rebounded 12 percent from this year’s low on Aug. 10 as euro-area policy makers intensified their efforts to resolve the sovereign-debt crisis. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped 0.5 percent today.

“European markets remain immensely fragile and at the mercy of the sovereign-debt crisis,” Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at London Capital Group, wrote in a note.

Merkel said joint euro bonds would send a “completely wrong signal.” She spoke at a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Strasbourg, France.

German business confidence, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, rose to 106.6 from 106.4 in October, the Ifo institute’s business climate index showed. The median forecast of 40 economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for 105.2.

Novartis, Transocean

Novartis, which has the second-largest weighting in the SMI, slid 1.7 percent to 47.80 Swiss francs. Transocean lost 1.8 percent to 41.07 francs, leading declines in the SMI.

Kuoni Reisen Holding AG (KUNN) slipped 1.8 percent to 237 francs, its lowest price since March 2003. The stock was removed from the “conviction buy” list at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Meyer Burger Technology AG (MBTN) fell 0.9 percent to 15.75 francs. The stock was cut to “reduce” from “add” at Commerzbank AG.

Logitech International SA (LOGN), the largest maker of computer mice, advanced 2.4 percent to 6.81 francs. Kepler began coverage of the shares with a “buy” recommendation.

Valartis Group AG (VLRT) jumped 4.2 percent to 16 francs. The company said it sold its Valartis Bonus Card AG to Corner Bank, adding it will strengthen its focus on private banking.

Lifewatch AG added 2.9 percent to 3.19 francs after announcing that it has formed a joint venture with Tracker that will give Lifewatch exclusive access to Tracker’s Internet- tracking technology.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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