Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on Feb 24

ZURICH Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:37am EST

ZURICH Feb 24 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open a tough lower, as worries brewing over China's property market kept investors on edge.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 0.3 lower percent at 8,409 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

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

INSURANCE

U.S. prosecutors are widening their probe of how Swiss banks helped wealthy Americans avoid taxes to include insurers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources.

CORPORATE TAX

The world's top economies agreed on Sunday to develop stricter rules on cross-border taxation to close loopholes that have allowed multinationals to avoid paying taxes.

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IMMIGRATION

Switzerland's defence minister said it was "unthinkable" that his country's accords with the European Union would be terminated as result of a referendum to curb immigration, saying threats of retaliation by the bloc were overblown.

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UBS

A void is appearing in the upper reaches of the world's biggest and most powerful financial market as banks struggle to replace currency traders suspended or fired during a global investigation into allegations of foreign exchange rate-rigging.

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CREDIT SUISSE

Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $196.5 million and admit wrongdoing to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it provided cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients without first registering with the regulator.

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SYNGENTA

Archer Daniels Midland Co, one of the world's top grain traders, said on Friday it will not accept crops containing a new genetically modified Syngenta AG corn trait until major importers approve the strain.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Bellevue Group said full-year net profit rose a touch to 6.5 million Swiss francs ($7.32 million) from 6.2 million francs in 2012, and that it plans to pay a 1 franc per share dividend.

* Novartis said its meningitis B vaccine Bexsero will be used as part of a vaccination program at the University of California Santa Barbara that runs through March 7.

* Acino said it appointed Jostein Davidsen to take over as CEO by mid-May at the latest.

ECONOMY

($1 = 0.8882 Swiss francs)