Swiss Market Ends Sharply Lower On Virus Jitters


The Switzerland stock market ended sharply lower on Monday, although the decline was not as sharply pronounced as seen in other markets across the region.


Mounting concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak across Europe and the imminent impact on the global economy weighed on the market even as global central banks announced further measures to help fight the crisis.


According to Handelszeitung newspaper, Switzerland's major lenders, including Credit Suisse and UBS, are considering a 20 billion Swiss franc loan programme to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.


The benchmark SMI, which dropped to a low of 7,650.23 in mid-afternoon trades, recovered to settle at 8,227.08, but still lost 140.48 points, or 1.68%, in the session.


On Friday, the SMI ended up 97.12 points, or 1.17%, at 8,367.56, snapping a six-day losing streak.


In Monday's session, Swiss Life Holding tumbled 12.6% and Swiss Re ended lower by about 11%.


Credit Suisse lost 9.3% on reports U.S. prosecutors are investigating Credit Suisse's role in a $2 billion Mozambique corruption case. According to reports, the prosecutors believe they have evidence of the lender's culpability after three former bankers pleaded guilty last year.


UBS Group shares declined 7.3% and LafargeHolcim ended lower by 8.65%. Zurich Insurance Group, Swatch Group, Richemont, Adecco and Sika declined 5 to 7%.


Roche Holding shares gained about 3.4%. The drugmaker announced that its annual general meeting will take place on Tuesday despite the coronavirus spread in accordance with an exemption provided by the authorities.


In the midcap section, AMS tanked 18.4%, Helvetia ended lower by 13.8% and Fuughafen Zurich lost 10.3%.


Lindt & Spruengli, Julius Baer, Sonova, PSP Swiss Property, Partners Group, Clariant, Straumann Holding and VAT Group lost 6 to 10%.


BB Biotech ended stronger by 2.8%. Schindler Ps, Barry Callebaut, Dorma Kaba Holding and Schindler Holding gained 1.3 to 2%.


In economic news, producer prices in Switzerland decreased to 99.80 points in February from 100.71 points in January of 2020.


Producer and import prices were down 2.1% from a year earlier in February 2020, following a 1% drop in the previous month. It was the 14th straight month of decline in prices, and the steepest since November last year, the data showed.


Among the other major indices in Europe, The U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 4.71%, Germany's DAX ended down 5.32% and France's CAC 40 tumbled 5.92%. The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 5.08%.

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