Swiss Stocks Drop Before U.S. Retail-Sales Data
Swiss stocks declined, trimming the biggest weekly gain since January, as euro-area finance ministers met in Dublin and investors awaited a report that may show U.S. retail sales stagnated.
UBS AG (UBSN) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), Switerland’s biggest banks, retreated at least 0.7 percent. Temenos Group AG, a Swiss banking software maker, lost 3.9 percent as Infosys Ltd., India’s second-largest software services exporter, forecast annual sales will rise slower than analysts estimated.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) fell 0.3 percent to 7,791.59 at 11:04 a.m. in Zurich. The gauge has still climbed 2 percent this week, the biggest gain since Jan. 18. The broader Swiss Performance Index slipped 0.2 percent today.
“The Eurogroup meeting is weighing on stocks because of rumors that Cyprus will need a bigger bailout,” Ion Marc Valahu, co-founder and fund manager at Clairinvest in Geneva, said in a telephone interview. “Cyprus issues are again coming to the forefront, and the possibility of Cyprus exiting the euro.”
The SMI fell 1.5 percent in the week ended March 22 as the euro area imposed losses on Cypriot bank-account holders to reduce the cost of rescuing the indebted nation. The country’s lawmakers blocked that plan, with President Nicos Anastasiades instead agreeing to a deal that imposed larger charges on those with deposits more than 100,000 euros ($131,000).
Euro-area finance ministers will try to reach an agreement on extending rescue-loan maturities for Ireland and Portugal at their meeting in Dublin today, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. The bailout programs face uncertainty from events like the depositor losses imposed in Cyprus and would benefit from a strong signal of European Union support, Eurogroup Working Group President Thomas Wieser said.
In the U.S., retail sales stagnated in March, economists said before a report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. The value of purchases was little changed last month after a 1.1 percent increase in February, according to the median forecast of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, retreated 1.3 percent to 14.96 Swiss francs, bringing this week’s rally to 5.2 percent. Credit Suisse declined 0.7 percent to 26.13 francs.
Temenos (TEMN) slid 3.9 percent to 20 francs, a one-week low. Infosys sank 21 percent in Mumbai trading, the biggest drop in 10 years, as its revenue forecast disappointed investors.
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