Swiss stocks dropped for a fifth day, the longest losing streak in 15 months, before the Federal Reserve released minutes of its July policy meeting.
Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, fell 1 percent. Julius Baer Group Ltd., Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, slipped 1.5 percent. Basilea Pharmaceutica AG retreated the most in two months after saying the U.S. regulator wants two trials of its pneumonia drug before it will consider granting approval.
The Swiss Market Index slipped 0.6 percent to 7,887.14 at the close of trading in Zurich. The measure has still gained 16 percent this year, driving its valuation to 15.2 times estimated earnings, compared with an average of 13.2 times over the past five years. The Swiss Performance Index fell 0.5 percent today.
“Everybody is waiting for the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting, with markets tending to be a bit weaker,” said Roland Schuermann, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, Switzerland. “There will be further clues as to when the Fed will begin with the throttling of its bond purchases.”
The Federal Open Market Committee will release minutes of its July 30-31 meeting after the close of European trading today. The U.S. central bank will start to scale back the $85 billion monthly pace of bond buying at its September meeting, according to 65 percent of economists surveyed by Bloomberg on Aug. 9-13.
The Fed has said the U.S. economy must improve in line with its forecasts for tapering to take place. A report in Washington today showed existing house sales rose 6.5 percent to an annualized 5.39 million pace in July. The median forecast of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected a 5.15 million pace.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 18 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Roche fell 1 percent to 237.70 Swiss francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s decline. Julius Baer dropped 1.5 percent to 41.79 francs.
Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s second-largest bank, declined 1 percent to 27.68 francs. A gauge of lenders posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Basilea slid 7.1 percent to 73.20 francs, the largest decline since June 20. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reiterated that drugs require two trials for every disease they are intended to treat, the drugmaker said in a statement. The company said it will continue its discussions with the agency.
“We remain on the sidelines as we see Basilea shares fully reflecting the value of the pipeline assets on a risk-adjusted basis,” Andrew Weiss, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a report.