Most Swiss stocks dropped, after the Swiss Market Index last week rallied to its highest level in five years, before a report that may show euro-area retail sales declined for a second month in March.
Actelion Ltd. (ATLN) led losses on the benchmark gauge.
The SMI (SMI) fell 0.1 percent to 7,928.19 at 9:41 a.m. in Zurich, as 13 shares in the measure slid and seven climbed. The gauge rallied 1 percent last week as the European Central Bank cut its benchmark interest rate and as U.S. employment picked up more than forecast in April. The broader Swiss Performance Index was little changed today.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 41 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A report at 11 a.m. Frankfurt time may show euro-area retail sales declined 0.1 percent in March after a 0.3 percent drop the previous month, according to a Bloomberg survey of 27 economists.
In France, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici declared the era of austerity has ended, while his German counterpart offered flexibility on deficit cutting.
“We’re witnessing the end of the dogma of austerity” as the only tool to fight the euro debt crisis, Moscovici said yesterday on Europe 1 radio. “We’ve been pleading for a growth policy for a year. Austerity on its own impedes growth.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s Wolfgang Schaeuble said there is a “certain flexibility” in allowing France, as well as Spain, to meet its deficit targets, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported yesterday.
Actelion, the Swiss drugmaker that gets most of its sales from one drug, led losses on the benchmark measure, falling 1.1 percent to 56.40 francs.
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