ZURICH, May 19 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 0.2 percent higher at 8,954 points on Friday, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .
The following are some of the main factors expected to affect Swiss stocks:
Julius Baer is in advanced talks to buy a minority stake in Argentinian financial services firm TPCG Group, a source familiar with the matter said, as the Swiss bank lays the groundwork for further expansion in Latin America.
* Luxury group Richemont has purchased a 5 percent stake in duty-free retailer Dufry, a filing with the SIX Swiss Exchange showed.
* Zurich Insurance said its subsidiary Farmers New World Life signed an agreement with Reinsurance Group of America to reinsure a portion of its closed U.S. annuity book, representing reserves of roughly $2.3 billion.
* Vifor Pharma’s (IPO-VIFP.S) Veltassa has been recommended for treatment of hyperkaleamia in the EU by the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP). A final EU commission decision is expected in the third quarter, Vifor said.
* Stadler Rail Chief Executive Peter Spuhler told Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger an initial public offering by the company is one of many possible options for the future. Spuhler also said he plans to remain with Stadler for another 5-10 years, though part of this time might be as chairman.
* Aryzta has appointed Kevin Toland as its new chief executive. Toland, currently CEO of airport operator daa plc, will join following a six-month notice period at daa or earlier if agreed.
* Santhera Pharmaceuticals announced an updated timeline for its ongoing assessment by CHMP of its extension application for Raxone (idebenone) in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and now anticipates an opinion in Q3.
* Baloise said it plans to have Bâloise Holding Ltd rated by Standard & Poor‘s.
ECONOMY (Reporting by Zurich newsroom)