Most Swiss Stocks Fall as Holcim, Sika Shares RetreatCorinne Gretler
Most Swiss stocks declined as Cyprus’s lawmakers sought to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) needed to obtain a bailout from the euro area, offsetting an advance by Credit Suisse Group AG.
Holcim Ltd. and Sika AG followed a gauge of European construction shares lower. Transocean Ltd., the world’s largest offshore oil-rig contractor, fell more than 1.5 percent. Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, gained 1.3 percent, while Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, climbed 1.1 percent.
The Swiss Market Index lost 0.2 percent to 7,744.33 at the close of trading in Zurich, as three stocks dropped for every two that climbed. The gauge retreated 1.5 percent this week, its first loss in six weeks and the biggest drop since Nov. 16. The SMI has still climbed 14 percent this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index fell 0.3 percent today.
“Investors are on the sidelines, waiting for more clarity on the situation in Cyprus,” said Markus Wallner, an equity strategist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “Market participants aren’t in panic, they’re just waiting to see what unfolds over the weekend. Construction companies are weighing on the SMI.”
The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the SMI was 15 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Cyprus’s lawmakers hold a debate today on how to raise the money needed to obtain a bailout from the European Union. The European Central Bank has said it will withdraw funding for the country’s lenders from Monday if Cyprus’s government fails to reach a deal with the 17 nations that use the single currency.
Cyprus didn’t get the financial support it sought from Russia, though the two countries will continue talking, Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris said.
The race for a compromise comes after a week of tumult marked by Cypriot lawmakers’ rejection of a levy on bank deposits. The other 16 euro countries and the International Monetary Fund had made the charge a condition for a 10 billion-euro rescue.
In Germany, a report showed that business confidence unexpectedly fell in March from a 10-month high in February. The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, declined to 106.7 from 107.4. Economists had predicted the measure would climb to 107.8, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Holcim, the world’s largest cement maker, slid 2.2 percent to 74.75 francs and Sika, the world’s biggest maker of construction chemicals, lost 3 percent to 2,244 francs. A gauge of European construction companies posted the worst performance on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, slipping 1.1 percent.
Transocean fell 1.6 percent to 48.74 francs.
Credit Suisse increased 1.3 percent to 25.65 Swiss francs, the biggest gain on the SMI, while Swatch added 1.1 percent to 533 francs.