Stocks in Switzerland Drop as Sulzer Tumbles on Earnings

Stocks in Switzerland declined to a two-week low as companies from Sulzer AG to AMS AG reported disappointing earnings.

Sulzer tumbled 14 percent after the pump maker posted first-half net income that missed analyst estimates and said profit will be lower in the full year. AMS plunged 18 percent after the maker of semiconductors said earnings and sales dropped in the first six months of 2013. Swatch Group AG rose

1.7 percent as the watchmaker said it predicts a strong second half after first-half profit rose.

The Swiss Market Index slipped 0.4 percent to 7,896.26 at the close in Zurich. The equity benchmark has still risen 16 percent so far this year, the fourth-best performing of 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg. The broader Swiss Performance Index fell 0.4 percent today.

“Earnings growth will come back, it just may not be over the next quarter,” Daniel Morris, a market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in London, told Mark Barton on Bloomberg Television. “What we have so far is slightly negative. In the context of still weak growth in Europe and now weaker demand out of China and Asia, it is going to be more of a challenge for European companies than for U.S. companies that can rely on stronger growth in the U.S.”

The number of shares trading hands in SMI-listed stocks was 15 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The VSMI Index, which measures the cost of protecting against swings on the SMI, fell for a fourth day to the lowest level since May 8.

Sulzer Tumbles

Sulzer tumbled 14 percent to 142.50 Swiss francs, its biggest loss since October 2008. Net income declined 23 percent to 99.5 million francs ($106 million) in the first half of the year, missing the 142.5 million-franc median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The company had previously forecast profit to increase in 2013.

AMS fell 18 percent to 62.50 francs, the largest drop since January 2008. First-half earnings before interest and tax dropped to 19.6 million euros ($25.9 million) from 39.6 million euros in the same period last year, while sales slipped 6 percent. AMS also forecast “flattish” revenue for 2013, after saying on June 10 that it predicted year-on-year sales growth for the full year.

Swisscom AG lost 0.6 percent to 414.70 francs after the phone company said Chief Executive Officer Carsten Schloter died in an apparent suicide. Urs Schaeppi will become interim CEO, according to a statement on the company’s website.

Swatch Gains

Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, gained 1.7 percent to 538.50 francs after posting first-half net income of 768 million francs. That beat the 747 million-franc average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The recently-acquired Harry Winston brand will contribute to a strong second-half in 2013, Swatch said today.

Autoneum Holding AG, which makes heat and noise insulation systems for vehicles, rose 2.4 percent to 82.90 francs. Sales jumped 12 percent in the first six months of the year, boosted by orders for vehicles in North America and Asia, according to a statement today. Net income more than doubled to 31.3 million francs.

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