Swiss stocks were little changed before Federal Reserve policy makers wrap up a meeting today that may shed light on future monetary policy in the world’s largest economy.
SGS (SGSN) SA, the world’s largest product-inspection company, and Swisscom (SCMN) AG led gainers. Meyer Burger Technology AG (MBTN) fell 4.8 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG advised investors to sell the shares.
The Swiss Market Index (SMI) rose 0.1 percent to 7,709.67 at 2:31 p.m. in Zurich. The benchmark gauge has fallen for four straight weeks amid speculation the Fed will start to reduce its bond-purchasing program. The broader Swiss Performance Index (SPI) added 0.2 percent today.
“Everyone is fearful,” said Herbert Perus, who helps oversee about $36 billion as head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna. “Fear of the economy, fear of rising rates, fear of duration, fear of Bernanke. Bernanke has clearly stated a goal for employment to be much better” before he removes stimulus. “And we are not there yet. And I expect him to say just that today.”
The Federal Open Market Committee ends a two-day policy meeting today, with Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke holding a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in Washington. Bernanke on May 22 said in Congress the bank could taper quantitative easing if economic growth is sustained.
SGS gained 1.6 percent to 2,182 Swiss francs. Swisscom rose 0.9 percent to 408.1 francs.
Meyer Burger declined 4.8 percent to 6.71 francs, headed for the steepest retreat since April 26. The supplier of machinery to solar-panel makers was cut to underperform, a rating similar to sell, from neutral at Credit Suisse, which cited “ample risks” the company may risk its 2013 sales guidance.
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