Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Drop as Swatch, Syngenta Fall; Holcim Shares Gain

November 20, 2011

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks fell, extending a third weekly decline for the benchmark Swiss Market Index, on increased concern that European leaders can’t agree on how to contain the region’s debt crisis.

Swatch Group AG, the world’s biggest watchmaker, dropped for a fourth day after Morgan Stanley lowered its price forecast. Syngenta AG followed European chemical makers lower. Holcim Ltd. gained 2.2 percent after Exane BNP Paribas raised its recommendation on the shares.

The SMI, a measure of the biggest and most actively traded companies, retreated 0.5 percent to 5,614.61 at the close in Zurich, for a 0.6 percent decline this week. The gauge has still rebounded 17 percent from this year’s low on Aug. 10 as policy makers stepped up their efforts to resolve the European fiscal crisis. The broader Swiss Performance Index decreased 0.6 percent today.

The failure of European leaders to end the debt crisis with their broadest effort yet has revived a Franco-German dispute over the European Central Bank’s role and fueled investor concerns over policy makers’ economic impotence.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday rejected French calls to deploy the ECB as a crisis backstop, defying global leaders and investors calling for more urgent action to halt the turmoil. Merkel listed using the ECB as lender of last resort alongside joint euro-area bonds and a “snappy debt cut” as proposals that won’t work.

Swatch Sinks

Swatch dropped 1.2 percent to 351.30 Swiss francs as Morgan Stanley cut its share-price forecast to 323 francs from 342 francs.

Syngenta, the world’s largest maker of agricultural chemicals, slid 2.2 percent to 261 francs. Chemical makers in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.5 percent, among the biggest decliners.

Holcim, the world’s second-biggest cement maker, added 2.2 percent to 51.30 francs. Exane raised its recommendation on the shares to “outperform” from “underperform.”

UBS AG, the largest Swiss bank, advanced 0.5 percent to 10.54 francs.

--Editors: Randall Hackley, Andrew Rummer

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net

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


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