Swiss Stocks Are Little Changed as Roche Gains

Stocks in Switzerland closed little changed as shares of drugmakers advanced while luxury-goods producers declined.

Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, gained 0.9 percent. Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, slipped 1.9 percent. Schmolz & Bickenbach AG, a Swiss maker of high-grade steel products, lost 4.2 percent after announcing a share sale.

The benchmark Swiss Market Index added less than 0.1 percent to 8,061.36 at the close of trading in Zurich. The measure has climbed 4.1 percent this month, extending its gain this quarter to 4.9 percent, as the Federal Reserve refrained from reducing its monthly bond purchases. It has rallied 18 percent so far in 2013, the third-best performance by a European developed market. The broader Swiss Performance Index also rose less than 0.1 percent today.

“After record outflows from safe-haven investments into equity funds and ETFs, buying power seems to be exhausted for now,” said Benedict Goette, chief executive officer of Compass Capital AG in Zurich, which helps oversee about 700 million Swiss francs ($769 million). “Although we don’t see any major extremes in many sentiment and positioning indicators, recent weak market action with no follow through on the basis of delayed tapering and a solid macro backdrop is even more concerning and we are now pretty cautious into October.”

Fund Flows

Mutual funds that buy European equities attracted $13.1 billion in investments in the six weeks through Sept. 18, according to data from Societe Generale SA and EPFR Global Inc., a research company in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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

A U.S. report today showed that initial jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 305,000 in the week ended Sept. 21, compared with the median forecast of economists that called for an increase to 325,000.

Separate data showed that fewer Americans signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in August. The index of pending home sales fell 1.6 percent, after a revised 1.4 percent decrease in July that was bigger than initially reported, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. Economists had forecast a 1 percent decline, according to a median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Budget Wrangling

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are still debating the U.S. federal budget in a confrontation that risks a government shutdown within days.

Roche climbed 0.9 percent to 243 francs, contributing the most to the SMI’s gain. Actelion Ltd., a Swiss drugmaker, rose 0.4 percent to 63.10 francs.

Sonova Holding AG, the largest maker of hearing aids, advanced 1 percent to 112.40 francs, snapping a four-day drop.

Richemont retreated 1.9 percent to 91.40 francs, posting the worst performance on the SMI.

Schmolz & Bickenbach fell 4.2 percent to 3.44 francs after saying it expects to raise 438 million francs selling new stock. Investors will get seven subscription rights for each share held.

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