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Swiss Stocks Drop Amid Europe Recession Concerns; Swatch Falls

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Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks declined, sending the nation’s benchmark gauge lower for the third time this week, as Standard & Poor’s warned European exporters may see a larger contraction in 2012.

Credit Suisse Group AG led a decline in financial shares, falling 2.2 percent. Exporters Cie. Financiere Richemont SA and Swatch Group AG also retreated.

The Swiss Market Index, a measure of Switzerland’s biggest and most actively traded companies, fell 0.9 percent to 5,733.5 at the close of Zurich trading, extending this week’s retreat to 1 percent. The broader Swiss Performance Index lost 0.7 percent.

S&P said Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Finland -- European nations that are net exporters -- face a risk of a bigger contraction compared with countries in the region that are net importers. The austerity measures adopted across the euro region imply that there won’t be any fiscal support for growth, it said.

The SMI rallied the most in two weeks yesterday after better-than-forecast reports on U.S. manufacturing and initial jobless claims boosted optimism in the world’s largest economy. A report today showed the cost of living in the U.S. stagnated in November as gasoline prices fell.

Italian Confidence Vote

In Europe, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government won a confidence vote in Parliament on a 30 billion-euro ($39 billion) emergency budget plan aimed at spurring growth and cutting the euro-area’s second-biggest debt.

The SMI has declined 11 percent this year, led by a selloff in banks, amid concern that the euro area’s sovereign debt crisis is spreading to core economies.

Credit Suisse and UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest banks, dropped 2.2 percent to 21.41 francs and 1.4 percent to 10.86 francs today, respectively. Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, fell 2.4 percent to 47 francs.

Swatch Group, which generates about 40 percent of its revenue from Europe, fell 1.1 percent to 323.90 francs while Richemont, which makes about 38 percent of sales from the region, lost 1.4 percent to 45.05 francs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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