May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks were little changed, following their biggest drop in 20 months yesterday, as speculation central banks will reduce stimulus offset Moody’s Investors Service’s confirmation of Switzerland’s credit rating.
Roche Holding AG climbed 1 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drugmaker’s test to diagnose diabetes. Syngenta AG added 1.4 percent. Novartis AG was the biggest drag on the Swiss Market Index.
The benchmark SMI was unchanged at 8,168.78 at the close of trading in Zurich, after climbing as much as 0.8 percent and dropping as much as 0.4 percent. The gauge has fallen 1.4 percent this week. It tumbled 2.8 percent yesterday, the biggest plunge since September 2011, amid concern the Federal Reserve will scale back its bond purchases and as a report showed Chinese manufacturing contracted this month. The equity benchmark has still rallied 20 percent in 2013. The broader Swiss Performance Index was also little changed today.
“The SMI is performing better than other European indexes as investors may still be searching for the yield offered by Swiss companies,” said Peter Stenz, a Zurich-based portfolio manager at Swisscanto Asset Management AG, which oversees about $57 billion. “The SMI reached a new year high on May 22, driven by defensive and relatively high-yield stocks such as Roche, Givaudan, Swiss Re and Novartis. Not surprisingly, these so far best-performing stocks suffered the most yesterday.”
Germany’s DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.6 percent. France’s CAC 40 Index lost 0.3 percent.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 4.3 percent less than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Moody’s reiterated Switzerland’s Aaa rating yesterday, saying the country has a stable outlook because of its economic strength and proven resilience.
In Germany, the Ifo institute’s business-climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 105.7 in May, its first gain in three months. Economists had predicted the measure would be unchanged from its 104.4 level in April, according to the median of 44 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed that orders for durable goods climbed 3.3 percent in April, rebounding from a decline of 5.9 percent in March. That beat the 1.5 percent median estimate of economists.
Roche rose 1 percent to 253.10 francs. The world’s largest maker of cancer drugs received approval from the FDA for its Cobas Integra 800 diabetes test.
Syngenta, the biggest maker of crop chemicals, advanced 1.4 percent to 387.20 francs, halting five days of losses.
Lindt & Spruengli AG, which makes the Lindt chocolate bunny, added 2.7 percent to 40,850 francs.
Novartis dropped 0.3 percent to 71.25 Swiss francs as Europe’s biggest drugmaker fell for a second day.
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