Stocks in Switzerland fell in the final minutes of trading after U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner said he will support President Barack Obama’s call for action against Syria.
Roche Holding AG retreated 1.2 percent for the biggest decline in the Swiss Market Index. Holcim Ltd. retreated 0.9 percent after J&E Davy Holdings Ltd. downgraded the world’s largest cement maker because it generates much of its earnings in emerging-market currencies.
The SMI slipped 0.3 percent to 7,866.23 at the close in Zurich. The benchmark gauge earlier climbed as much as 0.4 percent and dropped as much as 0.5 percent. The broader Swiss Performance Index also fell 0.3 percent today.
“Two events will be important in the next few days,” Arnaud Scarpaci, who helps oversee $260 million as a fund manager at Montaigne Capital in Paris, said by telephone. “First, there is the Syria issue and the Federal Reserve meeting later this September. These are big issues, and there will be a lot of volatility in the next few days.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies listed on the SMI was 6.4 percent lower the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The SMI rallied 1.9 percent yesterday for its biggest gain since July 4 as a gauge of Chinese manufacturing exceeded estimates and President Obama said he will seek congressional approval before ordering military action against Syria.
Swiss stocks declined after Boehner told reporters that the use of chemical weapons requires a response and only the U.S. has the capability to stop Bashar al-Assad.
The Fed holds a policy meeting on Sept. 17-18 to decide whether to slow the pace of its bond-purchase program. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said that the central bank may consider tapering if the employment outlook improves substantially and the economy grows as forecast.
Roche, the world’s largest maker of cancer drugs, declined 1.2 percent to 233.60 Swiss francs. That was the biggest contribution to the SMI’s slide.
Holcim retreated 0.9 percent to 63.50 francs. Davy analyst Robert Gardiner cut his recommendation on the Jona, Switzerland-based company to neutral from outperform, meaning that investors should not buy more of the shares. The brokerage cited concern over Holcim’s earnings from emerging markets, especially India.