Stocks in Switzerland Are Little Changed; Zurich Falls

Stocks in Switzerland were little changed, after the biggest advance in six weeks for the Swiss Market Index last week.

Zurich Insurance Group AG paced declining shares as JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the shares. AMS AG plunged 17 percent after the company lowered its earnings outlook. Novartis AG climbed after a company-funded study found that multiple sclerosis patients benefited from switching to the drugmaker’s Gilenya treatment.

The benchmark SMI rose less than 0.1 percent to 7,790.55 at the close in Zurich. The gauge rallied 2.1 percent on June 7, its biggest jump since April 23, boosted by a better-than-estimated U.S. employment report. The broader Swiss Performance Index also added 0.1 percent today.

“The global growth story is by and large intact,” said Jeremy Batstone-Carr, head of research at Charles Stanley Group Plc in London. “No one really wants to buy on the dips or sell the rallies, it’s steady as you go. The most encouraging piece of news really for equities is the fact that the trend in global earnings revisions appears to have troughed.”

The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the SMI was 33 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Zurich Insurance fell 1 percent to 244.4 Swiss francs after JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered its recommendation for the company to underweight from neutral.

AMS tumbled 17 percent to 71.25 francs, its biggest drop since January 2008. The Austrian maker of analog semiconductors said operating profit will probably fall this year as clients delay orders. AMS, whose clients included Apple Inc., didn’t say which companies delayed orders, saying some of the contracts for new products with higher margins.

Schmolz & Bickenbach AG dropped 2.6 percent to 2.98 francs after rallying 4.8 percent in the past two days of trading. The company today said it is focusing more on its steel-production units to help improve earnings by 230 million euros ($303 million) and said it is examining strategic options for the German part of its distribution business.

Novartis increased 0.8 percent to 67.75 francs. A company-funded study found that patients taking interferon, a standard treatment for multiple sclerosis, benefited from switching to the Swiss drugmaker’s Gilenya drug. The research found that annualized relapse rates fell by more than 50 percent after one year for patients who had made the switch.

Roche Holding AG gained 0.7 percent to 233.10 pence after the company’s arthritis drug Roactemra was approved for use in the European Union. The company said it got the approval earlier than it expected.

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