Swiss Stocks Drop From Five-Year High as Banks Retreat

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Stocks in Switzerland declined for the first time in four days, pushing the benchmark Swiss Market Index down from a five-year high, as shares of banks and insurers retreated.

UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG followed shares of European lenders lower. Swiss Re AG and Zurich Insurance Group AG fell 2 percent and 1 percent respectively. Valiant Holding AG rose 3.8 percent as a report said Swiss Life Holding AG may buy a stake in the company.

The SMI lost 0.4 percent to 8,147.68 at the close in Zurich. The gauge last week rose to the highest level since January 2008 as companies reported better-than-forecast earnings and Chinese trade data beat estimates. The broader Swiss Performance Index also retreated 0.4 percent today.

“There’s a kind of exhaustion in the market after reaching those highs last week,” Alessandro Fezzi, a senior market analyst at LGT Bank Schweiz AG in Zurich, said. “We see a quiet and slow start to the week as the earnings season winds down.”

In the U.S., retail sales unexpectedly rose in April. The

0.1 percent increase last month followed a 0.5 percent drop in March, Commerce Department figures showed in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a

0.3 percent drop.

Retail sales in Switzerland fell 0.9 percent in March from a year earlier, after a revised 2.3 percent gain in February, according to a report from the Swiss Statistics Office in Neuchatel.

Bank Shares

UBS slipped 1.4 percent to 17.10 Swiss francs. A gauge of lenders posted the worst performance among 19 industry groups in the regional benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Credit Suisse Group AG fell 0.8 percent to 28.28 francs.

Transocean Ltd. declined 1.8 percent to 51.55 francs as the world’s largest offshore oil-rig contractor said Michael Talbert will step down as chairman by November.

He will leave the board by the 2014 shareholder meeting if he is re-elected at the company’s annual meeting on May 17, according to the statement. Carl Icahn, who holds a 5.6 percent stake in Transocean, is seeking to replace three of the company’s 14 board members, including Talbert.

Swiss Re retreated 2 percent to 72.55 francs and Zurich Insurance fell 1 percent to 265.30 francs. An index of insurers in the Stoxx 600 decreased 0.7 percent.

Schaffner Holding AG lost 1.3 percent to 220.90 francs after the maker of electric components said it expects full-year operating profit to be in line with last year’s figures.

Valiant Holding gained 3.8 percent to 88.70 francs after Schweiz am Sonntag reported that Swiss Life has started negotiations with the lender on various options including buying a strategic stake. The newspaper didn’t say where it got the information.