Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 31

ZURICH, March 31 Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:45am EDT

ZURICH, March 31 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open higher, helped by speculation the European Central Bank could ease policy while China might take steps to stimulate its economy.

The Swiss blue-chip index was seen rising 0.4 percent to 8,281 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

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

FOREX

Switzerland's competition commission WEKO said on Monday it had opened an investigation into several Swiss, British and American banks over potential collusion to manipulate foreign exchange rates.

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UBS

A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that a group of international banks including UBS must face complaints that they violated the U.S. Commodity Exchange Act by manipulating yen-denominated interest rate benchmarks between 2006 and 2010.

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NOVARTIS

Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Monday a committee had recommended it end a late-stage trial into its chronic heart failure drug early, based on the strength of interim results.

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SWATCH

Sales at Swatch, the world's biggest watchmaker, could reach 10 billion Swiss francs ($11 billion) next year, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Romande Energie swung to a net profit of 68 million Swiss francs ($76.67 million) for 2013 on revenues of 578 million francs

* THERAMetrics said it will propose to shareholders to extend its ordinary capital increase to a maximum amount of up to 200,000 shares.

* Calida said its vice chairman Alfred Niederer is stepping down. The company is also proposing to elect Christian Haas to its board of directors.

* Cytos announced an amendment of convertible loan notes agreement.

ECONOMY

* The KOF economic barometer for March is due at 0700 GMT. The indicator, which points to the expected performance of the Swiss economy in about six months' time, rose to 2.03 points in February.

($1 = 0.8870 Swiss Francs)

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