Swiss Stocks Slide as U.S. GDP Rises Slower Than Forecast

Swiss stocks declined, even as the benchmark index posted its second-biggest weekly gain this year, after data showed the world’s largest economy grew less than economists forecast in the first quarter.

Julius Baer Ltd. led losses on the Swiss Market Index, sliding 2.8 percent. UBS AG slipped 1 percent. Givaudan SA followed chemical stocks higher, gaining 2.2 percent.

The SMI dropped 0.6 percent to 7,856.32 at the close of trading in Zurich. The gauge still added 3.1 percent this week as investors bet the European Central Bank will lower interest rates. The measure has rallied 15 percent so far this year. The broader Swiss Performance Index slid 0.5 percent today.

“People are willing to take a little bit of profit after this incredible week,” John Plassard, who helps oversee $28 billion as vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva, said. “The main focus now will be on the ECB.”

The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 26 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate, lower than forecast, after a 0.4 percent fourth-quarter advance, Commerce Department figures showed. The median estimate of 86 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 3 percent gain.

Julius Baer Group Ltd, Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, lost 2.8 percent to 34.79 francs.

UBS, Givaudan

UBS, the country’s largest bank, fell 1 percent to 15.53 Swiss francs, snapping five days of gains.

Givaudan SA, the world’s largest maker of flavorings, added 2.2 percent to 1,177 francs. A gauge of chemical stocks was the best performer on the Stoxx 600 Europe Index.

Sonova Holding AG gained 1.1 percent to 101.80 francs. The hearing-aid maker said its U.S. subsidiary will appeal a verdict of the Kentucky Western District Court awarding damages of $7.25 million to a plaintiff whose cochlear implant had to be replaced.

Bucher Industries AG gained 1.7 percent to 222.1 francs. The world’s largest maker of wine presses confirmed its 2013 outlook and said it expects a moderate increase in sales and slight improvement in profitability.

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