Swiss stocks declined as a Federal Reserve policy maker said the central bank may reduce its monthly bond purchases as early as this summer, and investors awaited U.S. data on leading indicators and consumer sentiment.
The SMI fell 0.4 percent to 8,222 at 10:12 a.m. in Zurich. The equity benchmark lost 0.7 percent yesterday as Zurich Insurance Group AG reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates and U.S. jobless claims rose more than forecast. The gauge has still risen 21 percent so far this year as central banks around the world maintained monetary stimulus. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped 0.4 percent today.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 40 percent higher than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In the U.S., Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said quickening economic growth and an improving job market may prompt the Fed to begin to reduce its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases in the next few months.
Williams was one of the first Fed officials to advocate that the Fed buy bonds without setting a time limit or total for such purchases. He doesn’t vote on policy this year.
The Conference Board’s index of U.S. leading indicators probably rose 0.2 percent last month, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Economists in a separate Bloomberg poll expect a preliminary reading on the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment today will rise to 77.9 this month from 76.4 in April.
SGS, the world’s biggest product inspector, fell 1.7 percent to 2,262 Swiss francs.
Swiss Re AG (SREN), the world’s second-largest reinsurer, dropped 0.9 percent to 72.15 francs.
Sonova, the hearing-aid maker, gained 1.1 percent to 104.50 francs. The stock was upgraded to hold from sell at Deutsche Bank.
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