Swiss Stocks Drop on China Data; Kuehne & Nagel Falls

Stocks in Switzerland declined, with the benchmark Swiss Market Index snapping three days of gains, as growth in China’s services industry slowed.

Kuehne & Nagel International AG, the world’s biggest sea-freight forwarder, fell to the lowest price since July as full-year net income missed estimates. Transocean Ltd., the largest offshore rig contractor, advanced after posting a fourth-quarter profit for the first time in three years.

The SMI dropped 0.2 percent to 7,590.52 at the close of trading in Zurich after rising 0.6 percent last week. The benchmark measure has rallied for six consecutive months, its longest streak of monthly gains since 2009. The broader Swiss Performance Index retreated 0.2 percent today.

“The news from China looked more dramatic in terms of its impact on Asian stocks,” Alessandro Fezzi, senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich. “Swiss stocks have shown some resistance but the overall news from China is still having a negative impact on the market.”

China’s services industries expanded last month at the slowest pace since September. The non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.5 in February from 56.2 in January, the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Chinese Mortgages

The Chinese government intensified its three-year campaign to cool the real estate market, ordering larger deposits and stricter enforcement of sales taxes.

“The property curbs in China were an unexpected move,” Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG in London, said in a telephone interview. “But it could be something of an admission that the property market in China is more buoyant than previously thought.”

Kuehne & Nagel slid 0.9 percent to 105 Swiss francs. Net income of 485 million francs ($515 million) for 2012 missed the average analyst estimate that called for 523 million francs. The company also said Chief Executive Officer Reinhard Lange will step down for health reasons.

“Results fail to convince us,” Michael Foeth, an analyst at Vontobel Holding AG, wrote in a note to clients. “CEO transition remains an issue.”

UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s largest lenders, retreated 2.3 percent to 14.37 francs and 3.1 percent to 24.03 francs, respectively. A gauge of banking shares was the second-worst performer of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Transocean climbed 1.3 percent to 49.23 francs. Net income totaled $456 million, or $1.19 a share, compared with a loss of $6.17 billion, or $18.67, a year earlier. Excluding a $101 million tax benefit, per-share profit was 9 cents more than the average of 35 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company recommended a dividend of $2.24 a share.

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