May 15, 2014 / 4:36 AM / 3 years ago

Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on May 15

ZURICH, May 15 (Reuters) - Swiss stocks were expected to open lower on Thursday, set to retreat from a six-year high the prior day as investors await first-quarter economic growth figures for euro zone countries as well as inflation data for the region.

The Swiss blue-chip index was seen 0.1 percent lower at 8,603 points, according to the pre-market indications supplied by Julius Baer.

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

ROCHE

Roche Holding’s drug from a closely watched new class of cancer immunotherapies showed promise against advanced bladder cancer in a small, early stage study, according to data released on Wednesday.

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NOVARTIS

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it was allowed to launch a generic version of Novartis’ leukemia drug Gleevec in the United States on Feb. 1, 2016, under a settlement agreement between the two companies.

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RICHEMONT

Cartier owner Richemont said underlying sales grew 8 percent in April, excluding Japan, and said it would launch a new share buyback programme.

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ZURICH

Zurich Insurance posted a 20 percent rise in first quarter net profit on Thursday, as the Swiss company said there were early signs it would hit its medium-term targets.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Baloise said it will sell its Austrian subsidiary to Helvetia Group for 160 million Swiss francs ($179.80 million) as part of its strategy of focussing on core markets.

* Zueblin said it will sell its remaining Swiss portfolio in order to secure high valuations of the Swiss properties and in view of an upcoming repayment of the bond issue, concentrating on its strategic portfolios in Germany and France as a result.

* Swiss Prime Site said first-quarter net profit rose nearly 12 percent to 52.3 million francs and that it expects full-year net proft and earnings before interest and tax above 2013, an increase in net rental income of approximately 15 million francs to roughly 435 million francs and a vacancy rate of 6 to 7 percent.

* Gategroup said its first-quarter net loss widened to 16.7 million francs on lower earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization as well as higher restructuring spending, the absence of an unrealized forex gain that bolstered the prior year and a higher deferred tax charge. The airline caterer confirmed its 2014 full-year outlook.

* Myriad Group said it will propose David Nuescheler as a new board member at a May 26 shareholder meeting, in place of Richard Schlauri, who will not be standing for reelection.

* Santhera said it will provide a pipeline overview and regulatory milestone and business outlook at a conference on May 22 in Amsterdam.

ECONOMY

* Swiss producer/import price data due at 0715 GMT

$1 = 0.8899 Swiss Francs

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