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Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on January 23

BERLIN/ZURICH, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 0.3% lower at 10,864 points on Thursday, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .

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

SNB

The Swiss National Bank will end negative interest rates “as soon as we are able,” governing board member Andrea Maechler said on Wednesday when asked about the central bank’s ultra-loose money policy aimed at preventing the Swiss franc’s overvaluation.

ROCHE

Risdiplam met the primary endpoint in a pivotal clinical trial in infants with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy, the Swiss drugmaker said on Thursday.

CANTONAL BANKS

Moody’s Investors Service placed on review for downgrade the Aaa long-term deposit and issuer ratings of Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) and the Aa1 long-term deposit and senior unsecured ratings of St. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB). The rating action is linked to a re-assessment of the implications for the credit profiles of the banks’ respective guarantors, the Canton of Zurich and the Canton of St. Gallen, of the very sizeable contingent liabilities arising from deficiency guarantees provided to each institution. Moody’s expects to have finalized its evaluation of the contingent liability risks within three months and that the magnitude of a potential downgrade will likely be limited, perhaps to one notch.

COMPANY STATEMENTS

* Credit Suisse Group appointed Brian Gudofsky global head of technology in its latest effort to reorganize the investment banking division and grow its global practice in tech.

* Nebag announced a distribution of dividend of 0.50 Sfr per registered share

* Zuger Kantonalbank reported full-year profit of 74.7 million Sfr

* Schlatter Industries said 2019 net sales were 16.3% lower than previous year at 93.3 million Sfr.

* Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG - LLB group expects a net profit of approximately CHF 123 mln for 2019 business year (+45% over previous year)

* Basilea reports activity of derazantinib in preclinical models of gastric cancer at ASCO gastrointestinal cancers symposium

* Belimo Holding AG net sales in 2019 rose by 7.8 percent to chf 692.7 mln; transitional provisions of Swiss tax reform will have a material, positive effect on net income in consolidated financial statements 2019

* Autoneum Holding AG - adjusted for currency effects, FY group revenue in Swiss francs amounted to CHF 2 297.4 million, 0.7% higher compared to the previous year

* Mikron Holding AG- increase in net sales in 2019, up slightly from CHF 314.7 mln to 327.6 mln (+4.1%); confirms previous EBIT expectations for 2019 financial year and is anticipating a figure on a par with prior year (2018: EBIT chf 13.9 mln, EBIT margin 4.4%)

* LEM Holding SA - changing role of headquarters results in loss of 21 jobs in Geneva

* Phoenix Mecano consolidates Chinese operations, considers tapping Chinese capital markets

ANALYSTS’ VIEWS

PARTNERS GROUP HOLDING AG: Berenberg initiates with sell rating and price target of CHF 607

ZURICH INSURANCE GROUP AG: HSBC raises to buy from hold; raises target price to 480 Sfr from 355 Sfr

SIG COMBIBLOC GROUP AG: Goldman Sachs cuts to “neutral” from “buy”; cuts price target to 15.50 Sfr from 16 Sfr

ECONOMY

No major economic data scheduled.

Reporting by Zurich newsroom and Berlin Speed Desk

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