Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on Feb 21

ZURICH Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:04am EST

ZURICH Feb 21 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to tick higher on Friday, taking their cue from a rally on Wall Street where robust U.S. factory activity data helped boost sentiment.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening up 0.2 percent at 8,402 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks on Friday:

PARTNERS GROUP

Swiss private equity firm Partners Group expects to invest about $1.2 billion in natural gas pipelines in Mexico over the next few years, spurred in part by the government's landmark energy reforms, a senior executive said in an interview.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Novartis said its eye drug Lucentis has been approved for diabetic macular edema in Japan.

* Roche has launched a fully automated CINtec PLUS cytology test to improve the detection and early intervention of pre-cancerous cervical disease.

* Schaffner expects double-digit growth in the first half of 2013/14 and said net sales should amount to slightly over 100 million Swiss francs compared to 89.6 million a year earlier, while its operating margin for the first half is likely to be 4.8 pct. In the first half of 2012/13, its EBIT margin was still 1.8 pct.

ECONOMY

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