Swiss stocks fell for a third day, trimming their ninth consecutive monthly gain, amid concern the U.S. Federal Reserve will reduce its debt purchases as the world’s biggest economy strengthens.
Adecco SA decreased 2.6 percent for the biggest decline on the Swiss Market Index. Nestle SA contributed the most to a retreat by European food-and-drink companies. Givaudan SA rose 1.1 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG upgraded the stock.
The SMI slid 0.9 percent to 7,947.01 at the close in Zurich, extending its drop this week to 2.7 percent, the biggest since November. The benchmark measure has still risen 0.5 percent in May, completing its longest streak of gains since 1997. The Swiss Performance Index lost 0.8 percent today.
“We have to get used to much more volatility since the future path of monetary policy is much more uncertain now,” Witold Bahrke, who helps oversee $55 billion as a senior strategist at PFA Pension A/S in Copenhagen, wrote in a message. “The big threat is that the quantitative-easing medicine is withdrawn earlier than expected. As this QE medicine has already caused equities to overshoot relative to fundamentals, earlier-than-expected tapering means a higher fear factor.”
A measure of U.S. consumer sentiment climbed in May to the highest level since July 2007. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer confidence rose to 84.5 from 76.4 in April, according to a final reading today. Economists had predicted a gain to 83.7.
In a separate release, the MNI Chicago Report’s business barometer jumped to 58.7 this month. The median forecast of 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for a reading of 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Adecco, the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers, fell 2.6 percent to 53.80 Swiss francs.
Nestle, the biggest food producer, slipped 1.9 percent to 63.45 francs.
Givaudan advanced 1.1 percent to 1,239 francs. Credit Suisse upgraded the world’s largest maker of flavorings to outperform, the equivalent to a buy rating, from neutral, describing the industry’s fundamentals as attractive.