Swiss Stocks Fall as Franc Gains; Richemont, Swatch Slide

Swiss stocks fell for a second day, paring three weeks of gains in the benchmark index, as Cie. Financiere Richemont SA slumped the most in more than seven months and the franc gained against the euro.

Richemont tumbled 5.6 percent, for the largest decline since June, after the world’s second-biggest luxury-goods company reported sales that missed estimates. Flughafen Zuerich AG dropped 2.9 percent after Nomura Holdings Inc. downgraded its recommendation for the stock.

The Swiss Market Index slid 0.4 percent to 7,336.05 at the close of trading in Zurich, for the first back-to-back losses since the start of the year. The gauge has still rallied 7.5 percent in 2013, the best start to a year since the measure was formed in 1988. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped 0.4 percent today.

“The SMI had a strong start to the year,” said Reto Huenerwadel, senior economist at UBS AG in Zurich. “To the extent that market participants are willing to take more risk, we’ve seen the franc depreciating against the euro and a rally in Swiss stocks. But it’s difficult to see how the rally could go on at this pace.”

The franc rose for a second day, gaining 0.3 percent against the euro. The Swiss currency last week depreciated to the lowest level since the country’s central bank imposed a exchange-rate cap in September 2011.

Bailout Funds

Euro-area finance ministers, gathering in Brussels today, will begin talks on how to channel rescue funds directly to banks. Policy makers are likely to clash over how and when the 500 billion-euro ($666 billion) European Stability Mechanism can bypass governments. An assessment of Spain, Cyprus and Greece is also expected to feature.

Richemont slid 5.6 percent to 74.30 Swiss francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s decline. The owner of the Cartier brand reported third-quarter revenue growth that missed analysts’ estimates as demand in the Asia-Pacific region slowed.

Revenue rose 9.3 percent to 2.86 billion euros in the three months through December, the Geneva-based company said today. The 5 percent growth excluding currency shifts missed the 8.9 percent average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Swatch Group AG, the world’s biggest maker of Swiss watches, retreated 1.9 percent to 510 francs.

Flughafen Zuerich fell 2.9 percent to 403 francs, the largest drop since April, as Mark McVicar, an analyst at Nomura, cut the stock to reduce from buy, meaning investors should sell the company’s shares.

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 19 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

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