Swiss stocks - Factors to watch On July 3

ZURICH, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 2:13am EDT

ZURICH, July 3 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open flat on Thursday, as investors waited for U.S. nonfarm payrolls data to see if the world's largest economy is gaining momentum.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening almost unchanged at 8,608 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

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

BARRY CALLEBAUT

Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest maker of chocolate and cocoa products, confirmed its mid-term targets as it posted a 15.8 percent rise in sales volumes in the nine months to the end of May.

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SWISS RE

Swiss Re, the world's second largest reinsurer, played down competition from alternative capital in the reinsurance industry as it said it was on track to meet its 2011-2015 financial targets.

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ZURICH INSURANCE

Zurich Insurance said it would take a hit of around $300 million to net income after selling its Russian retail business to the OLMA Group, part of the insurer's strategy to shed underperforming units.

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ROCHE

An experimental antibody drug from Roche has produced promising results in mid-stage tests for asthma, offering a new way to fight the breathing disorder.

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UBS

UBS AG's chief currency strategist has left the Swiss bank as part of its efforts to cut costs and streamline operations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Novartis has begun shipment of seasonal influenza vaccines to the U.S. market for the 2014/2015 season.

ECONOMY

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