Most Swiss stocks fell, with the Swiss Market Index paring losses in the final minutes of trading, as investors weighed worse-than-estimated earnings reports from Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
Roche Holding AG, which constitutes 17 percent of the benchmark SMI by weight, fell for a fifth day. Straumann Holding AG slipped 1.1 percent as Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the shares. Adecco SA gained for an eighth straight day after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its recommendation on the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers.
The SMI dropped less than 0.1 percent to 7,928.12 at the close of trading in Zurich, after earlier sliding as much as 0.6 percent. Thirteen stocks fell and seven gained. The index has retreated 0.7 percent this week as a report showed German investor confidence unexpectedly declined. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped less than 0.1 percent today.
“Markets are disappointed by overnight bad earnings reports coming from two heavyweight U.S. firms, Google and Microsoft,” said Stephane Ekolo, chief European strategist at Market Securities in London. “Markets will not get any support from the macro side on the absence of major economic data.”
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 1.6 percent higher than the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The SMI has surged 16 percent in 2013, pushing its valuation to 15 times estimated earnings. That compares with an average ratio of 12.9 over the past three years, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Google, owner of the world’s most popular Internet search engine, yesterday reported second-quarter sales and profit that missed estimates. Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, posted fourth-quarter earnings that trailed analysts’ forecasts by the biggest margin in at least a decade.
Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors began a two-day meeting in Moscow today. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said yesterday he will urge his European counterparts to spur growth, citing the American economy as an example of successful recovery.
Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, fell 0.3 percent to 234.60 Swiss francs, after earlier retreating as much as 1.7 percent. The decrease brought this week’s decline to 3.8 percent.
Straumann, the world’s largest maker of dental implants, slid 1.1 percent to 147.30 francs. Kepler Cheuvreux cut its rating on the shares to reduce from hold, citing a “challenging valuation.”
Straumann shares trade at a 12 percent premium to the industry average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Mikron Holding AG lost 2.9 percent to 5.30 francs. The Swiss maker of machinery for fuel injectors and medical devices forecast that the full-year operating-profit margin will probably be lower than last year.
Swatch Group AG, the largest maker of Swiss timepieces, lost 1.1 percent to 528 francs. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world’s largest luxury-goods maker, said sales of jewelry and watches in mainland China declined.
Adecco added 0.5 percent to 60.65 francs, paring an earlier gain of as much as 2.6 percent. Credit Suisse raised the shares to outperform, the equivalent of a buy recommendation, from neutral, saying European recruiters will probably return to growth in the second half of the year amid an improving economy.
Credit Suisse advanced 1.9 percent to 27.93 francs, its third day of gains. Coller Capital Ltd., the British buyer of private-equity assets started by Jeremy Coller, is near to an agreement to acquire the bank’s stake in New York-based DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, three people with knowledge of the talks said. Switzerland’s second-largest bank is exiting more illiquid businesses as regulations seek to limit risk-taking by financial companies.