Bloomberg News

Swiss Shares Drop for Fifth Day as Swatch, Actelion Slide

March 23, 2012

Swiss stocks declined for a fifth day, extending the biggest weekly loss in four months, after purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell.

Swatch Group AG (UHR) and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA retreated at least 1 percent. Actelion Ltd. (ATLN) slid 1.6 percent, for the biggest drop in the Swiss Market Index.

The SMI (SMI), a measure of Switzerland’s biggest and most actively traded companies, slipped 0.2 percent to 6,240.33 at the close of trading in Zurich, for the longest losing streak since November. The drop takes the measure’s weekly decline to 1.6 percent. The broader Swiss Performance Index fell 0.1 percent today.

The SMI has still climbed 5.1 percent this year as the European Central Bank lent regional financial institutions more than 1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) for three years and U.S. economic reports beat estimates.

“Following the steady march higher for equities this year, calls for a correction had been building,” Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at Capital Spreads in London, wrote in e-mailed comments. “Traders remain cautious about the possibility of this being the start of a deeper reversal in risk appetite.”

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February for a second month, a sign the recovery in the housing market may be uneven. Sales dropped 1.6 percent to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October, from a 318,000 rate in January that was weaker than previously reported, figures from the Commerce Department showed. The median estimate of 78 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 325,000.

Consumer Confidence

U.K. consumer confidence declined in February as rising joblessness and weakening economic growth made Britons more pessimistic about the future, Nationwide Building Society said. An index of sentiment fell to 44 from 47 in January, the customer-owned lender said. A gauge of consumers’ expectations for the economy fell 4 points to 60.

Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss watches, lost 1 percent to 419.30 Swiss francs. Richemont, owner of the Cartier brand, slid 1.1 percent to 55.80 francs. Actelion, the Swiss maker of the Tracleer lung treatment, declined 1.6 percent to 34.45 francs.

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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