Bloomberg News

Swiss Stocks Slide as Greece Resists Cuts; Nobel Biocare Falls

February 13, 2012

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss stocks retreated from a three- week high after a leader of Greece’s coalition government refused to support more spending cuts demanded by euro-area finance ministers as a precondition for aid.

Nobel Biocare AG dropped 2.4 percent after JPMorgan & Chase Co. and Zuercher Kantonalbank AG recommended selling the shares. UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s largest lenders, led the Swiss Market Index lower.

The SMI, a measure of the largest and most actively traded companies, declined 0.6 percent to 6,130.66 at the close in Zurich, bringing this week’s drop to 0.4 percent. The gauge has still advanced 3.3 percent in 2012 as investors speculated that policy makers will contain the euro-area debt crisis and U.S. economic data topped forecasts. The broader Swiss Performance Index also lost 0.6 percent today.

“Even though overall sentiment is still positive, negative noise out of Greece due to the delays to reach a deal ahead of the weekend have led to profit taking.” said Trung-Tin Nguyen, a hedge-fund manager at TTN AG in Zurich. “Markets look overbought in the short term and it feels as though we need a break from the recent bull run.”

George Karatzaferis, the leader of Greece’s Laos party, today said he couldn’t support the accord worked out for a new financing agreement in its present form.

Euro-area finance ministers, meeting in Brussels yesterday, refused to approve a second aid package for Greece because the nation fell short of austerity demands and because of a lack of assurances by the nation’s politicians that they will stick to their commitments after elections due as soon as April.

Consumer Prices

Swiss consumer prices dropped the most in more than two years in January as the franc’s appreciation lowered costs of imported goods.

Consumer prices declined 0.8 percent from a year earlier after falling 0.7 percent in December, the Federal Statistics Office in Neuchatel said today. That’s the fourth straight drop, the biggest decrease since October 2009 and in line with economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

In the U.S., consumer confidence declined more than forecast in February as growing optimism about job prospects failed to ease concern wages will stagnate. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment dropped to 72.5 from 75 in January, a one-year high.

Nobel Biocare Retreats

Nobel Biocare, the second-biggest maker of dental implants, dropped 2.4 percent to 10.25 Swiss francs, extending its five- day decline to 24 percent. The stock was cut to “underweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan and to “underweight” from “market weight” at Zuercher Kantonalbank.

Larger rival Straumann Holding AG slipped 2.9 percent to 156.40 francs, bringing this week’s retreat to 11 percent.

Credit Suisse dropped 2.9 percent to 23.64 francs as gauges of European banks and insurers were among the worst performers of the 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. UBS fell 2.8 percent to 12.73 francs.

Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, lost 2.3 percent to 52 francs and Baloise Holding AG retreated 2.2 percent to 72.05 francs. Zurich Financial Services AG, the country’s largest insurer, slid 1 percent to 229.10 francs.

Temenos Group AG declined 1.2 percent to 17.05 francs after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. downgraded the banking-software maker’s shares to “neutral” from “buy,” citing the announcement of the merger details with Misys Plc, which Goldman said “limits upside potential.”

Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, declined 0.7 percent to 162.30 francs.

--Editors: Srinivasan Sivabalan, Andrew Rummer

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net

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


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