Swiss Stocks Drop to a Four-Month Low on Greek Impasse
Givaudan SA (GIVN), the world’s biggest maker of flavors and fragrances, followed a gauge of European chemical shares lower. Lonza Group AG (LONN), the world’s biggest maker of drug ingredients, slipped 2.6 percent. UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switzerland’s largest lenders, climbed more than 2.5 percent.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) fell 0.2 percent to 5,926.60 at the close in Zurich, its sixth day of losses. The gauge has dropped to the lowest since Dec. 29 as uncertainty after elections in Greece raised questions about that nation’s ability to obtain financial rescue and pay back its debt on time. The Swiss Performance Index lost 0.1 percent.
“Greece and its problems forming a government and Spanish banks are the two main problems,” said Markus Wallner, an equity strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “Investors are very nervous about a possible Greek exit from the euro zone and that Spain will be forced to ask for external financial aid.”
Venizelos, the socialist Pasok leader in Greece, received a three-day mandate from President Karolos Papoulias today to try to form a coalition government. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the nation’s biggest political party, and Alexis Tsipras of the left-wing Syriza coalition have already failed in their attempts.
The European Financial Stability Facility’s board of directors late yesterday confirmed the release of 5.2 billion euros ($6.7 billion) by the end of June to help Greece meet its debt-repayment obligations.
In Spain, the government is negotiating with European Union officials over funding from the EFSF or the European Investment Bank to bolster its lenders, El Economista reported.
Givaudan dropped 1.1 percent to 870.50 francs as a gauge of European chemical companies was the worst performer of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. (SXXP) Clariant AG slid 2.5 percent to 10.95 francs. Syngenta AG, the world’s biggest supplier of agricultural chemicals, declined 1.3 percent to 308 francs.
Lonza slipped 2.6 percent to 38.87 francs, its lowest price since at least November 1999, after Jacob Thrane, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s, cut his recommendation on the company’s shares to hold from buy.
Gategroup Holding AG, the airline catering company, retreated 1.8 percent to 27.95 francs after it reported a loss of 14.8 million francs in the first quarter, after a 6.2 million-franc loss a year earlier.
UBS and Credit Suisse increased 3.4 percent to 11.43 francs and 2.9 percent to 19.88 francs, respectively. Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) rose 1.8 percent to 33.56 francs. Swiss Life Holding AG, the country’s biggest insurer, added 2.8 percent to 88.20 francs.
Adecco SA (ADEN), the world’s largest supplier of temporary workers, jumped 3.3 percent to 40.12 francs after ABN Amro Bank NV raised the stock to buy from hold.
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