Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 28

ZURICH, March 28 Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:07am EDT

ZURICH, March 28 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open little changed on Friday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a raft of economic data from the euro zone and the United States.

The Swiss blue-chip index was seen opening flat at 8,328 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .

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

NOVARTIS

A drug made by Novartis AG to treat acute heart failure should not be approved because there is insufficient evidence it improves symptoms, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded on Thursday.

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ROCHE

Swiss drugmaker Roche said on Friday that European regulators have approved a new timesaving formulation of its blood cancer drug MabThera, which it hopes will help extend the medicine's shelf life.

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LINDT

Rising demand for premium chocolate has spurred Lindt & Spruengli to boost production at its U.S. headquarters by 8 to 10 percent, where it will start making high-quality treats for China for the first time, Lindt USA chief executive said.

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UBS

A former UBS AG trader who became a cooperating witness in the U.S. government's sweeping probe of bid-rigging in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market was sentenced to time served on Thursday.

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WATCHMAKERS/SWATCH

Swiss watchmakers say a slowdown in their important Chinese market, and political tensions in Russia that could affect wealthy consumers' spending there, are likely to result in only modest sales growth this year.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Newron said results from new mechanistic and behavioral studies with NW-3509 confirm its potential for use in patients with schizophrenia.

* Warteck Invest posted profit for last year of 11.2 million francs. It said the market value of its real estate portfolio rose about 11 percent to 545.5 million francs.

* IPS said the costs to strengthen production led to a consolidated loss of 6.2 million euros last year. The packaging company said it was confident that its operational business would break even this year.

* Banque Profil de Gestion said Eric Alves de Souza had decided to step down as chairman of the company. It proposes Genevieve Berclaz and Monsieur Emmanuele Emanuele for election to its board of directors.

* Perfect Holding said revenues fell 8.6 percent last year to 27.4 million francs generating a net operating loss of 0.7 million francs.

ECONOMY

The Swiss National Bank's (SNB) cap on the franc's value remains a necessary tool to ensure price stability for the foreseeable future, board member Fritz Zurbruegg said in a speech on Thursday.

He told a money market event in Zurich that the central bank had a whole pallet of measures to defend the minimum exchange rate, including negative interest rates.

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