Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on July 17

ZURICH, July 17 Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:12am EDT

ZURICH, July 17 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open slightly lower on Thursday, in line with European stocks, as mixed earnings weighed on shares.

The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen falling 0.3 percent to 8,589 points, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer, with shares in SGS seen almost 2 percent lower after reporting first-half results.

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

NOVARTIS

Swiss drugmaker Novartis posted a 2 percent rise in quarterly sales and confirmed its full-year guidance, expecting revenue from new products to offset generic competition to its blood pressure pill Diovan.

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GIVAUDAN

Fragrance and flavour maker Givaudan confirmed its mid-term targets after first-half net profit rose 13 percent, helped by strong volume gains and lower operational costs.

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SGS

The world's largest testing and inspection company SGS lowered its growth outlook as it posted a weaker-than-expected 6.3 percent rise in first-half net profit.

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UBS

UBS cemented its lead over U.S. brokerage Bank of America Corp as the world's largest private bank and is within striking distance of managing $2 trillion on behalf of the wealthy, according to a study on Thursday.

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LINDT

The head of Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli said the firm's top priority was gaining market share globally, which meant absorbing some of the cocoa bean price increase seen over the past year, rather than passing it on to consumers.

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ROCHE

Roche's experimental drug crenezumab failed to delay a decline in thinking and memory skills in people with Alzheimer's disease, a result likely to bolster a growing belief that drugs need to be given in earlier stages of the disease to show a benefit.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Partners Group said its total assets under management increased to 33.8 billion euros as of 30 June 2014 from 31.6 billion a year earlier.

* Basilea said the European Commission granted its isavuconazole, an experimental antifungal treatment, orphan drug designations for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis and mucormycosis.

* Nationale Suisse said it has set a strategic partnership agreement with Chinese reinsurer China Re P&C to jointly develop tailored solutions in the fine art, engineering and marine sectors for the Chinese market. No financial details were disclosed.

ECONOMY

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