Swiss stocks fell for a second day as the country’s second-largest bank was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, and amid political instability in Portugal and rising crude oil prices.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) dropped 1.2 percent to 7,641.12 at 10:45 a.m. in Zurich. The equity benchmark has fallen 9.1 percent since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said on May 22 that the central bank may reduce its bond buying if the U.S. economy recovers in line with its forecasts. The broader Swiss Performance Index slid 1.1 percent today.
In Portugal, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho lost both his finance minister and his foreign minister amid mounting austerity fatigue.
Secretary of State for Treasury Maria Luis Albuquerque replaced Vitor Gaspar at the Ministry of Finance. That prompted Paulo Portas, who leads the smaller CDS party in the coalition government, to quit, saying the new minister would offer “mere continuity” of the country’s deficit-cutting plans.
Portuguese bonds slumped, pushing 10-year yields above 7 percent for the first time this year. Spanish (GSPG10YR) 10-year yields climbed 12 basis points to 4.74 percent, while yields on similar-maturity Italian (GBTPGR10) bonds rose nine basis points to 4.53 percent.
Credit Suisse slid 2.5 percent to 25.05 Swiss francs after S&P cut its long-term counterparty credit ratings for Switzerland’s second-largest lender to A- from A. S&P said new rules and “uncertain market conditions” threaten their business.
S&P also affirmed its A long-term rating and A-1 short-term rating on UBS AG. Still, shares in the country’s largest bank lost 2.4 percent to 15.80 francs.
Julius Baer Group Ltd., the third-largest Swiss wealth manager, slid 2 percent to 36.45 francs.
Geberit fell 1.8 percent to 235 francs. HSBC downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 12 percent higher than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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