Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 19

ZURICH, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:23am EDT

ZURICH, March 19 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to idle on Wednesday ahead of a policy update from the U.S. Federal Reserve, whose ultra-easy monetary policy has been a key driver in a sharp equity rally over the past 1-1/2 years.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen virtually unchanged at 8,243 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer

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

SWISS BANKS

A senior Justice Department official talked tough about tax dodging, particularly involving Americans' use of offshore bank accounts, while two U.S. senators separately called on the Justice Department to seek extraditions from Switzerland of bankers accused of aiding Americans in tax evasion.

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ROCHE

Using Roche's medicine Tamiflu saved lives during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic four years ago, according to a new scientific study published on Wednesday.

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Bravofly Rumbo

Online travel agency Bravofly Rumbo Group said it will list its shares in Switzerland by mid-year, seeking to raise up to 110 million euros ($153.04 million) for a geographic expansion.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Orascom said it expects to report a full-year net loss of between 145 million and 160 million Swiss francs ($165.84 million and $182.99 million), as political instability in Egypt hammers revenues and capitalization of financing costs, while other factors including the devalued Egyptian pound, provisions, impairments of investments and reassessment of the recoverability of deferred tax assets also weigh.

* The government of Glarus said it has paved the way for Glarner Kantonalbank to list up to 3.5 million new shares after attempts to find a strategic partner were halted. The plan to list shares requires the approval of local parliament.

* Autoneum said it wants to double its dividend to 1.30 francs per share after a 22 percent rise in full-year net profit to 36.2 million francs amid a 5.8 percent rise in sales, and that it expects a further increase in profits this year.

* Looser said full-year net profit shrank to 3.39 million francs from 22.7 million francs last year due to 16.1 million francs in impairments such as writing down goodwill, and said it will keep its dividend unchanged at 1.80 francs per share.

* Santhera said U.S. officials are allowing the company to protect the use of the oromucosal administration route for fipamezole, used to treat levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease, by patent until 2027.

* SHL Telemedicine said it will cooperate with Narayana Health Hospitals, an Indian hospital chain, which further broadens its portfolio of partnerships in India.

* Crealogix said it is working with PHZ Privat- und Handelsbank Z├╝rich AG to combine online and offline advisory services, in which the Swiss bank will act as a pilot client.

ECONOMY

* Swiss ZEW due at 1000 GMT. Analysts in a Reuters poll expect it to fall to 25.0 points in March, from 28.7 points in February.

($1 = 0.8744 Swiss Francs)