Swiss Stocks Decline; UBS, Julius Baer, Orascom Lead Drop

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Swiss stocks slipped for the first day this week as Italian yields rose after the Mediterranean country sold debt.

Julius Baer Group Ltd. and UBS AG paced declining shares in the Swiss Market Index. Orascom Development Holding AG retreated after reporting a full-year loss and Transocean Ltd. posted the biggest gain in the SMI. Syngenta AG fell after HSBC Holdings Plc cut its recommendation on the stock.

The SMI slid 0.3 percent to 7,780.17 in Zurich, reversing an earlier gain. The broader Swiss Performance Index slipped 0.2 percent to 7,209.15. The number of shares changing hands in the SMI was 8.4 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The SMI climbed yesterday as better-than-estimated U.S. durable-goods and housing data bolstered confidence in the world’s largest economy. The gauge fell last week amid concern that the uncertainty in Cyprus will reignite the euro area’s debt crisis.

“Europe isn’t out of the woods yet,” said Louis de Fels, a Paris-based fund manager at Raymond James Asset Management International, which oversees $43 billion worldwide. “Things are moving in the right direction for Cyprus, but it’s not settled yet. The market is very nervous. With each bit of news, there is tension.”

Italian 10-year yields extended their first quarterly increase since June as demand fell when the Treasury sold 6.91 billion euros ($8.84 billion) of debt at an auction today. Spanish and Greek bonds also slid as investors shunned the securities of so-called peripheral nations.

Banks Fall

Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, lost 0.9 percent to 37.09 Swiss francs. UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, slipped 1.6 percent to 14.57 francs.

Orascom Development declined 3.4 percent to 11.45 francs. The hotel developer reported a full-year loss of 97.2 million francs.

Transocean, an offshore drilling contractor, climbed 2.4 percent to 49.41 francs, rebounding after four days of losses, for the biggest gain in the SMI.

Kuoni Reisen Holding AG, Switzerland’s largest travel company, advanced 3.1 percent to 287.5 francs. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Deutsche Bank AG. The company’s 2012 results show that the worst is behind it, the analysts wrote in a note.

Syngenta lost 1.6 percent to 395 francs. HSBC cut its recommendation on the shares to neutral from overweight.