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Swiss Stocks Fall the Most Since June; Julius Baer Slides

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks fell the most in more than five months, as investors awaited U.S. jobs data this week to gauge the timing of a reduction in Federal Reserve stimulus.

All 20 stocks on the Swiss Market Index declined. Julius Baer Group Ltd. lost 3.3 percent for the biggest drop in the stocks gauge after Nomura Holdings Inc. cut its recommendation on Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager. Sonova Holding AG slipped 1.8 percent after Morgan Stanley lowered the shares.

The SMI fell 1.8 percent to 8,109.89, its lowest level since Oct. 18, at the close in Zurich. The gauge climbed 0.4 percent in November and gained 19 percent this year as central banks around the world pledged to keep interest rates low for a prolonged period to support the economic recovery. The broader Swiss Performance Index slid 1.7 percent today.

“A lot of weight is being given to Friday’s payroll data,” Nick Xanders, an equity strategist at BTIG Ltd. in London, said in a note. “Some equity investors may be hoping for a small miss to the 180,000 that is currently being forecast to keep the Fed on hold.”

Stocks in Switzerland were little changed yesterday after a measure of Spanish manufacturing unexpectedly contracted, while a U.S. factory index increased.

U.S. Unemployment

The U.S. non-farm payrolls, scheduled for Dec. 6, may show employers added 181,000 workers in November while the unemployment rate slipped to 7.2 percent, matching the lowest level in five years. Tomorrow’s private jobs report will probably show U.S. employers added the most workers since June. The Fed has said it will monitor labor-market gains before deciding when to pare its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases.

The U.S. central bank will provide its Beige Book report on economic conditions in the world’s largest economy tomorrow, two weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets on Dec. 17-18. to consider changes to monetary stimulus. Fed policy makers will probably pare the monthly pace of bond buying to $70 billion at their March 18-19 meeting, according to the median of 32 estimates in Bloomberg’s most recent survey of economists conducted on Nov. 8.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of England will give policy decisions on Dec. 5.

Julius Baer dropped 3.3 percent to 40.89 Swiss francs. Nomura cut its recommendation to neutral from buy. Credit Suisse Group AG fell 2.3 percent to 26.55 francs, and UBS AG declined 3.2 percent to 16.71 francs.

Sonova retreated 1.8 percent to 123.10 francs. The hearing-aid maker was cut to equal weight, similar to a neutral recommendation, from overweight at Morgan Stanley, which cited that new product releases from competitors may affect revenue growth.

Holcim Ltd. declined 1.9 percent to 64.15 francs. A gauge of construction companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 2.5 percent for the biggest drop out of 19 groups.

To contact the reporter on this story: Inyoung Hwang in London at ihwang7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net

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