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(Bloomberg) -- The removal of the cap on the Swiss franc and the currency’s subsequent 41 percent surge had an unexpected effect on the stock market: a benchmark index of European equities climbed even as its Swiss constituents slid.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged as much as 4 percent in the minutes after the Swiss National Bank announced the surprise end of its cap of 1.20 franc per euro. Swiss companies such as Novartis AG, Nestle SA and Roche Holding AG -- the three biggest stocks in the Stoxx 600 -- rallied as their shares were repriced in euros. In local currency terms, all three slumped as investors speculated that their earnings from exports to the euro zone would suffer from the franc’s appreciation.
The confusion created by the wild swings in exchange rates is a hazard for equity investors in Europe where the broadest benchmarks can be buffeted by moves in as many as six different currencies. Stoxx Ltd. confirmed that the move higher in the Stoxx 600, which it compiles, was caused by the currency fluctuations and not a problem with its technology.
“It’s not a technical issue,” said Andrea Weidemann, a spokeswoman for the index provider. “It has to do with the SNB taking out the 1.20 block.”
Even so, the violence of the franc’s move against the euro repeatedly triggered an alert that temporarily stopped the index from calculating. In the aftermath of the SNB’s decision shortly after 10:30 a.m. Zurich time, the alert forced Stoxx to intervene to restart its gauge of developed European stocks.
“Between 10:54 and 11:09, we had to manually approve the currency and that’s why there is a slight delay in how the index calculates,” Weidemann said.
Stoxx declined to reveal the size of the move that leads to an alert, but confirmed that it is tiny compared with this morning’s fluctuations.
“My understanding is that this is triggered every time it happens,” she said.
Stoxx, which is jointly owned by Deutsche Boerse AG and SIX Group AG, may alter the price history for the Stoxx 600 after the close of trading .
“We are going to be mainly adjusting the highs and lows of trading,” Weidemann added. “It’s going to be published as soon as it’s done tonight.”
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