Swiss Stocks Retreat From 4 1/2-Year High; ABB Drops

Stocks in Switzerland declined for the first time in six days, dragging the benchmark Swiss Market Index from a 4 1/2-year high, as U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell.

Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, dropped 1.7 percent and ABB Ltd., the largest maker of power transformers, slipped 1.4 percent. Von Roll Holding AG slid 2.3 percent after the maker of insulation systems said sales in its core markets are falling. Santhera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG tumbled 22 percent as European regulators recommended against approving its experimental treatment for a rare eye disease.

The SMI decreased 0.8 percent to 7,368.8 at the close of trading in Zurich, after rising to the highest level since June 2008 yesterday. The gauge has still rallied 8 percent in 2013, the best start to a year since the measure was formed in 1988. The broader Swiss Performance Index declined 0.7 percent today.

“Slight profit-taking at the end of the week isn’t completely unexpected.” Peter Buergler, a trader at Luzerner Kantonalbank AG in Lucerne, wrote in a note to clients today.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 77 percent higher than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

In the U.S., the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index for January decreased to 71.3 from 72.9 the previous month. The gauge was projected to climb to 75, according to the median forecast of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Greek Warning

The International Monetary Fund warned that risks to Greece’s economic reform plan remain high and said European nations will need to provide more funds and debt relief.

“The program is moving in the right direction, but the challenges ahead remain enormous,” the IMF staff wrote in a report on Greece released today. “Timely delivery of Greece’s European partners’ undertakings on debt relief and financing is crucial for program success.”

Swiss Re dropped 1.7 percent to 69.85 Swiss francs, snapping three days of gains.

ABB retreated 1.4 percent to 19.68 francs, the largest decline since Oct. 26.

Von Roll fell 2.3 percent to 2.15 francs, paring an earlier loss of as much as 11 percent. The company, based in Waedenswil outside Zurich, said it expects to announce a “sharp overall decline” in its 2012 operating result when it reports full-year earnings on March 18.

Santhera plummeted 22 percent to 3.75 francs, the biggest drop since May 2010. A “narrow majority” of the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use decided Santhera’s Raxone was “not approvable at this time,” Liestal, Switzerland-based Santhera said. The company has requested a re-examination of the decision, it said.

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