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Swiss Stocks Drop as Goldman Faces Probes; UBS, Kuoni Decline

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Swiss stocks fell, led by financial shares, as the U.K. and Germany signaled probes into Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

UBS AG, the country’s biggest bank, slid 2 percent. Nestle SA dragged the benchmark Swiss Market Index lower as the shares traded without the right to a dividend. Flughafen Zuerich AG and Kuoni Reisen Holding AG fell more than 1 percent as parts of Europe’s airspace remained closed for a fifth day following a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

The Swiss Market Index of the largest and most actively traded companies fell 90.01, or 1.3 percent, to 6,803.68. The gauge has still rallied 3.9 percent this year as central banks maintained record low interest rates and the European Union agreed a contingency rescue plan to help prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt. The broader Swiss Performance Index declined 0.7 percent to 6,023.48 today.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday called for U.K. regulators to start their own inquiry into Goldman Sachs, saying he was “shocked” at the “moral bankruptcy” indicated in a Securities and Exchange Commission suit announced on April 16. The SEC sued Goldman for misstating and omitting facts about a collateralized debt obligation. Germany’s financial regulator, Bafin, asked the SEC for details, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

UBS, Credit Suisse

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank by client assets, declined 2 percent to 17.57 Swiss francs. The SEC is investigating transactions by Deutsche Bank AG, UBS and the former Merrill Lynch in the mortgage-securities market, the New York Post reported, without saying where it got the information.

Credit Suisse, the second-largest Swiss lender, dropped 0.5 percent to 55.05 francs. Julius Baer Group Ltd., a 120-year-old private bank, retreated 0.7 percent to 36.87 francs.

Nestle declined 3.4 percent to 51.25 francs. The world’s largest food company traded without the right to a dividend of 1.6 francs a share. Adjusted for the dividend, the shares lost 0.4 percent. The company accounts for more than 22 percent of the SMI by weighting.

Flughafen Zuerich fell 1.5 percent to 360 francs. Flights at Switzerland’s busiest airport have been canceled since April 17 because of safety concerns over the cloud of ash from a volcano in Iceland. The Swiss aviation agency extended the partial closure of its airspace until 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Kuoni, Gategroup

Kuoni fell 4.9 percent to 393 francs. The largest Swiss travel company offered full refunds to holidaymakers with departures scheduled for April 17 and 18.

Gategroup Holding AG, the company specializing in catering and hospitality services for airlines, slid 3 percent to 37.15 francs.

Nobel Biocare Holding AG declined 2 percent to 30.92 francs. The world’s biggest maker of dental implants was cut to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies.

Burkhalter Holding AG gained 5.1 percent to 145.1 francs. Switzerland’s biggest electrical installations company’s full-year earnings before interest and taxes rose to 21.3 million francs ($20 million) from 20.5 million francs the year earlier.

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