Most stocks in Switzerland declined, with the Swiss Market Index (SMI) heading for the biggest weekly slide in 22 months, as investors awaited data on U.S. payrolls.
EMS-Chemie Holding AG fell for a third day after JPMorgan Chase & Co. said European chemical shares may face pressure in the second half of 2013. Swiss Re AG (SREN) rose 1.4 percent.
The SMI rose less than 0.1 percent to 7,626.08 at 12:56 p.m. in Zurich as two shares fell for each one that gained. The gauge has tumbled 4.1 percent this week, the biggest drop since August 2011, as the European Central Bank refrained from announcing unconventional stimulus measures and investors speculated the Federal Reserve will start paring its bond-buying program. The broader Swiss Performance Index declined less than 0.1 percent today.
“I would call this week the lost week because there have been too many confusing messages regarding the future for quantitative easing,” said John Plassard, who helps oversee $28 billion as vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. “I expect the payroll number will be worse than expected or in line and will give a good indication that the Federal Reserve is going to keep the bond purchases going until at least the end of the year.”
A U.S. Labor Department report at 8:30 a.m. in Washington will probably show that companies boosted payrolls by 163,000 workers last month, after hiring 165,000 in April, according to the median forecast of 90 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate held at a four-year low of 7.5 percent, according to the survey.
A June 5 report from the Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Research Institute showed American employers added 135,000 workers in May, up from a revised 113,000 in April. That was fewer than the 165,000 median forecast of 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
The volume of shares changing hands in SMI-listed companies was 5.1 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
EMS-Chemie (EMSN), a Swiss chemical producer, dropped 2.2 percent to 262.25 Swiss francs, a six-week low. JPMorgan said European chemical shares may face cyclical pressures in the second half of 2013 as low consumer confidence continues to depress volume, price and margins.
Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, gained 1.4 percent to 67.70 francs as European insurance shares advanced.
Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCVN) added 2.3 percent to 476.25 francs, snapping two days of losses. The company said in a statement late yesterday that it’s not one of the cantonal banks being investigated by or collaborating with U.S. authorities over tax avoidance.
“U.S. persons have never been a target market for BCV and BCV has never conducted client acquisition activities on U.S. soil,” the bank said.
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