Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Decline; Swatch, Orascom Fall as Clariant Climbs

June 06, 2011

June 6 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Switzerland fell, extending three weeks of declines, amid growing concern that the global economy is weakening.

Swatch Group AG, the world’s largest watchmaker, and Orascom Development Holding AG, the owner of holiday resorts on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, dropped. Clariant, a producer of emulsions and pigments, rose 1.1 percent.

The Swiss Market Index of the biggest and most actively traded companies slid 0.6 percent to 6,370.06 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Zurich, the lowest since April 19. The measure has fallen 5.2 percent since this year’s high on Feb. 18 as U.S. manufacturing and jobs reports fueled concern that the recovery in the world’s largest economy is faltering and as speculation grew that Greece will default on its debt. The broader Swiss Performance Index also slipped 0.6 percent today.

“There have been signs of a slowdown in economic momentum,” Dirk Wiedmann, chief investment officer at Rothschild Private Banking & Trust in Zurich, wrote in a note to clients. “An acceleration in the U.S. recovery had been hoped for but, so far, has failed to materialize. Investors may remain focused on the economic outlook until at least mid-July, when the reporting season for the second quarter begins.”

Swatch retreated 1.6 percent to 407.20 Swiss francs. Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek said that the Swiss currency’s appreciation costs the company as much as 60 million francs ($71.7 million) every month in an interview with SonntagsZeitung.

Orascom Development, Sulzer

Orascom Development dropped 0.8 percent to 32.45 francs, a sixth straight decline. Egypt’s largest publicly listed resorts builder said first-quarter profit slid to 601,188 francs from 26.5 million francs a year earlier.

Sulzer AG, the Swiss engineering company, slumped 2.5 percent to 150 francs as Helvea AG downgraded the shares to “neutral” from “buy.” The brokerage also revised down its earnings estimates to reflect a “strong currency headwind,” according to a note sent to clients today.

Clariant gained 1.1 percent to 18.85 francs as a gauge of chemical companies performed the best out of 19 industry groups in the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

--Editors: Will Hadfield, Andrew Rummer

To contact the reporters on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net; Giles Broom in Zurich at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net


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