Stocks in Switzerland retreated, after the Swiss Market Index (SMI) yesterday dropped the most in two months, as concern grew that the U.S. will take military action against Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people.
Holcim Ltd., the world’s biggest cement maker, slipped 1.5 percent. Actelion Ltd. lost 1.2 percent.
The SMI declined 0.3 percent to 7,860.4 at 9:26 a.m. in Zurich. The equity benchmark rose 0.6 percent last week as measures of manufacturing in the euro area and China increased more than economists had forecast. The SMI has still advanced 15 percent so far this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slid 0.3 percent today.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 44 percent greater than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The U.S., France and Britain have moved closer to retaliatory military action against Syria, laying out the justification, putting forces into place and rounding up allies in the region.
The countries will focus any armed response on Syria’s weapons capabilities and wouldn’t direct it at deposing President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. and U.K. officials said. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said in London that any course of action will be legal and proportionate.
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