July 18, 2018 / 5:25 AM / 5 months ago

Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on July 18

ZURICH, July 18 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 0.5 percent higher at 8,866 points on Wednesday, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

Here are some of the main factors that may affect Swiss stocks:

NOVARTIS

The Swiss drugmaker's sales and profit grew in the second quarter of 2018, the company said on Wednesday, as rising demand for the drugmaker's Cosentyx arthritis medicine and heart failure medicine Entresto offset weakness at its Sandoz generics unit.

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SWATCH GROUP

The world's biggest watchmaker said on Wednesday it expected further growth in the second half of the year after net profit rose by 67 percent in the first half, helped by improving demand for Swiss watches in Asia and America.

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ROCHE

The Swiss pharma company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough therapy designation for Tecentriq (atezolizumab) in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab) as an initial treatment for people with advanced or metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common form of liver cancer.

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SGS

The testing and inspection firm posted a broadly stable net profit in the first half of the year and confirmed its full-year guidance, helped by an improvement in its minerals business.

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COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Cassiopea said it had an after-tax loss of 6.729 million euros in the first half and that all its cost were within budget.

* Georg Fischer said the net result after minorities grew 27 percent to 150 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2018 and it was on track to deliver on its 2020 strategy.

* Raiffeisen Schweiz said CEO Patrik Gisel decided to step down at the end of the year to protect the reputation of the bank after he'd been criticised related to fraud allegations against his predecessor Pierin Vincenz.

Reporting by Zurich newsroom

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