Stocks in Switzerland Drop to Lowest Level in Four Weeks

Swiss stocks fell to the lowest level in almost four weeks amid speculation U.S. lawmakers won’t reach an agreement on the federal budget this week.

Roche Holding AG (ROG), the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, slid 1.1 percent. Lindt & Spruengli AG (LISN) climbed 1.4 percent after the world’s largest maker of premium chocolate said it will buy back shares worth about 450 million Swiss francs ($500 million). Forbo Holding AG (FORN) added 1.1 percent after UBS AG recommended buying the shares of the maker of floor coverings and conveyor belts.

The Swiss Market Index (SMI) lost 0.5 percent to 7,900.87 at 9:30 a.m. in Zurich, the lowest since Sept. 9. The equity benchmark rose 3.6 percent in September, extending its gain last quarter to 4.4 percent, as the Federal Reserve refrained from reducing its monthly bond purchases. The gauge has rallied 16 percent in 2013. The broader Swiss Performance Index also fell 0.5 percent today.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 4.5 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In the U.S., a partial government shutdown enters a fourth day today, with as many as 800,000 federal employees temporarily out of work as lawmakers wrangle over the budget for the new financial year, which started Oct. 1. A monthly jobs report due today has been delayed.

Congress also faces a dispute over raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling this month. The Treasury has said that it will exhaust measures to avoid exceeding the borrowing limit on Oct. 17. If that happens, the government would run out of cash to pay all of its bills at some point between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The Treasury Department said yesterday that a federal default could lead to a recession comparable to the 2008 financial crisis or worse. Separately, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a speech in Washington that it’s “mission-critical” for the U.S. to raise the borrowing limit as a default would damage the world economy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at

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