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Swiss Stocks Retreat; Nestle, Aryzta Fall as Transocean Advances

Swiss stocks dropped, trimming yesterday’s biggest rally in a week, as Fitch Ratings called for the European Central Bank to increase its purchases of government bonds to ease pressure on sovereign-borrowing costs.

Nestle SA dropped, making the largest contribution to the equity measure’s slide. Aryzta AG sank 6.8 percent after selling 174.3 million Swiss francs ($182.5 million) of new shares. Transocean Ltd. gained after disclosing the pay deal for its new chief financial officer.

The SMI, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, slipped 0.7 percent to 6,008.04 in Zurich, paring yesterday’s 1.1 percent rally. The broader Swiss Performance Index retreated 0.6 percent.

“Bond sales in Italy and France, because the countries have more problems, will offer more of a guide for the market,” said Arnaud Scarpaci, a fund manager at Agilis Gestion SA in Paris, which oversees about $84 million.

The ECB needed to buy more bonds, David Riley, head of the sovereign-debt unit at Fitch, said at an event in Frankfurt.

“We need to have a credible buyer put in place and we don’t have that at the moment,” which is “why we have a number of sovereigns under review,” Riley said.

Germany attracted bids for 8.97 billion euros ($11.4 billion) of five-year notes at an auction today, more than double its target of 4 billion euros, the Bundesbank said in a statement.

Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, slipped 1.7 percent to 53.85 francs after Bank of America Corp. downgraded the shares to “neutral” from “buy.” The brokerage named the maker of KitKat chocolate bars as one of several “fully valued defensive stocks” that may decline in a “risk-on cyclical rotation.”

Aryzta Shares Slide

Aryzta sank 6.8 percent to 42.80 francs. The supplier of bakery products to restaurants, fell after selling 4.25 million new shares at 41 francs apiece.

Transocean climbed 3.1 percent to 38.90 francs. The world’s largest offshore driller will pay interim Chief Financial Officer Greg Cauthen $576,000 in salary and bonus to stay with the company for six months.

Cauthen replaces former CFO Ricardo Rosa, who is stepping down after Moody’s Investors Service said it may strip the Vernier, Switzerland-based rig operator of its investment-grade debt rating because of the company’s rising costs.

Actelion Ltd. added 1 percent to 32.93 francs. The company’s experimental drug macitentan has a “very high” probability of success, Chief Executive Officer Jean-Paul Clozel said. Actelion will release data from a late-stage trial of the medicine in the second quarter, Clozel said in an interview yesterday in San Francisco.

Baloise Holding AG gained 1 percent to 64.95 francs. The stock was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG.

Bossard Holding AG, a supplier of industrial adhesives, jumped 6.8 percent to 111.60 francs. The company reported a 3 percent increase in fourth-quarter sales to 111.7 million francs.

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