Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on April 25

ZURICH, April 25 Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:20am EDT

ZURICH, April 25 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open little changed to slightly weaker on Friday as worries over escalating tensions in Ukraine sap appetite for risk.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening steady at 8,412 points, according to premarket indications from bank Julius Baer.

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

NOVARTIS

Patients taking Novartis' inhaled medicine Onbrez Breezhaler for chronic lung disease had benefits similar to those taking GlaxoSmithKline's Seretide, the Swiss drugmaker said on Friday, citing a late stage study.

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HOLCIM

Indian cement maker Ambuja Cements Ltd, controlled by Holcim, reported a forecast-beating 6.6 percent rise in quarterly profit on higher sales, and expects a revival in the economy after ongoing federal elections ending on May 16.

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SWISSCOM, PUBLIGROUPE

Telecoms group Swisscom said on Friday it has submitted a non-binding offer worth 230 million Swiss francs ($261 million) to buy PubliGroupe's shares in two local directory businesses.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* U.S. health regulators have approved Roche's HPV test for first-line primary cervical cancer screening.

* Sulzer has named Cesar Montenegro as the new leader of its pumps equipment division.

* Mobilezone said its share buyback programme for was concluded successfully on April 24, 2014.

ECONOMY

* The Swiss National Bank holds its annual general meeting in Bern at 0800 GMT including a speech from Chairman Thomas Jordan.