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Swiss Stocks Post Biggest Drop in Five Weeks; Roche Slips

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Swiss stocks declined the most in five weeks, after two days of gains for the Swiss Market Index, as the Spanish region of Catalonia sought a bailout and Japan lowered a view of its economy for the first time in 10 months.

Logitech International SA, the world’s largest maker of computer mice, dropped 1 percent. Roche Holding AG slipped 0.7 percent after the head of its pharmaceuticals division was named as the new chief executive officer of rival AstraZeneca Plc. UBS AG retreated 1.8 percent.

The SMI fell 1.1 percent to 6,421.42 at the close of trading in Zurich, the most since July 23. The equity benchmark has still risen 12 percent from this year’s low on June 4 as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to preserve the euro. The Swiss Performance Index decreased 1 percent today.

“The global uncertainties and weakening of the global economy are weighing on markets, like today’s news out of Japan,” said Benno Galliker, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “Investors don’t seem to want to hold large equity positions before the upcoming central bank meetings, in case of another disappointment. We may be seeing some selling off before September, which is often the weakest month of the year.”

The volume of shares changing hands on the SMI was 31 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Catalonia said it will ask for 5 billion euros ($6.3 billion) of aid from the central government, becoming the second Spanish region to tap a national rescue fund after the country’s most-indebted area was shut out of financial markets.

Japanese Economy

Japan’s government downgraded its assessment on personal consumption, housebuilding, exports, imports and industrial output in the world’s third-largest economy. It also lowered its assessment of the global economy.

The Cabinet Office said that risks to Japan’s economy include a “further slowing down of overseas economies and sharp fluctuations in the financial and capital markets,” according to a monthly report released in Tokyo today.

The ECB has considered lowering the discounts it applies to asset-backed securities when treating them as collateral for loans, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Frankfurt-based lender has urged global banking regulators to relax a draft liquidity rule on concern it may worsen the region’s debt crisis by curtailing lending, according to three people familiar with the talks.

Logitech fell 1 percent to 8.91 Swiss francs, extending yesterday’s decline. A gauge of European technology shares performed the worst of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Roche, Novartis

Roche slipped 0.7 percent to 174.70 francs. AstraZeneca said Pascal Soriot will join it from Roche on Oct. 1. The Swiss drugmaker named Daniel O’Day as Soriot’s replacement.

Health-care companies pushed the SMI lower, with Novartis AG declining 1.1 percent to 56.70 francs and Nobel Biocare Holding AG losing 0.9 percent to 8.93 francs.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, slipped 1.8 percent to 10.67 francs.

Swatch Group AG, the world’s largest watchmaker, dropped 1.6 percent to 395.50 francs. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, fell 1.8 percent to 58.90 francs.

Kuoni Reisen Holding AG lost 2.5 percent to 236.20 francs after Credit Suisse Group AG cut Switzerland’s largest travel company to neutral, the equivalent of hold, from outperform.

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