Swiss Stocks Close Notably Lower After SNB Raises Policy Rate

Swiss stocks ended lower on Thursday as sharp hikes in interest rates by several global central banks raised concerns about growth.

The benchmark SMI, which dropped to 10,266.70 at the start, ended with a loss of 131.75 points or 1.26% at 10,297.65.

After the Federal Reserve's 75-basis point rate hike on Wednesday, the Bank of England and the Swiss National Bank raised their respective interest rates today.

The Swiss National bank raised its key interest rate to positive territory to counter the renewed rise in inflationary pressure. The central bank hiked the SNB policy rate by 0.75 percentage points to 0.5%, as expected. This was the second consecutive rate hike.

Following the move by the SNB, the interest rate turned positive for the first time since early 2015.

"It cannot be ruled out that further increases in the SNB policy rate will be necessary to ensure price stability over the medium term," the bank said in the statement.

To provide appropriate monetary conditions, the bank is also willing to be active in the foreign exchange market as necessary, the SNB added.

The inflation projection for this year was raised to 3% from 2.8%. The outlook for 2023 was lifted to 2.4% from 1.9% and that for 2024 to 1.7% from 1.6%.

For this year, the central bank forecast GDP growth of around 2 percent, this was roughly half a percentage point lower than at the last monetary policy assessment.

Partners Group fell nearly 8%. Credit Suisse shed about 5.5% and Sika drifted down 4.1%, while Swiss Life Holding, Alcon, Geberit, Sonova, Givaudan, Richemont, Holcim, Logitech, UBS Group and ABB lost 2 to 4%.

Nestle and Swisscom bucked the trend and ended higher by about 1% and 0.5%, respectively.

In the Mid Price Index, Temenos Group plunged more than 7%. AMS, Straumann Holding, Tecan Group, VAT Group, Schindler Ps, Belimo Holding, Bachem Holding, Zur Rose, Georg Fischer and Schindler Holding lost 3 to 5.2%.

Swatch Group and Galenica Sante ended higher by 0.84% and 0.74%, respectively.

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