March 9, 2020 / 5:23 AM / 23 days ago

Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 9

ZURICH/BERLIN, March 9 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen plunging 5% to 9,257 points on Monday amid fears over prolonged impacts of the coronavirus epidemic, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .

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

CORONAVIRUS

* The Swiss government is working on directing support to companies hit by falling demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak and will not adopt a broad stimulus programme, a top official said.

* Global share markets tumbled as panicked investors fled headlong to bonds to hedge the economic trauma of the coronavirus, and oil plunged more than 30% after Saudi Arabia opened the taps in a price war with Russia.

* Italy's financial markets will open as usual, but traders are expecting a wild start to the week after the government ordered a lockdown of large parts of the north of the country, including the financial capital Milan, to fight the coronavirus.

* Mainland China, outside Hubei province, reported no new locally transmitted cases for the second straight day, as a senior Communist Party official warned against reducing vigilance against the disease and of the risk of social stability.

SWATCH

The watchmaker is taking a "massive" hit from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that sharply affected business in major market China, Chief Executive Nick Hayek said.

Activist investor Veraison said it has a stake of less than 3% in the watchmaker, Finanz und Wirtschaft reported, citing an interview with founder Gregor Greber and Chief Executive Andreas Weigelt, who said they are in "dialogue" with Swatch's management.

CREDIT SUISSE

Swiss market watchdog Finma has appointed Thomas Werlen, former general counsel for drugmaker Novartis, to examine supervisory aspects of Credit Suisse's surveillance of former executives, Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

COMPANY STATEMENTS

* MCH Group said the coronavirus epidemic has economic consequences for the fair company including the cancellation or postponement of events, but does not endanger its stability.

* XPO Logistics said it is acquiring a majority of UK contract logistics operations from Kuehne + Nagel

* Helvetia said it is launching a Swiss real estate fund.

* Belimo said that it expects growth the decelerate in 2020 as the coronavirus eats into sales. Net income last year rose 40.5% to 121.1 million Swiss francs due to benefits from tax changes in its home country.

* Tornos said its order backlog is "significantly slimmer" than a year ago amid growing geopolitical uncertainty. In 2019, sales fell significantly and profit dropped by nearly two-thirds to 5.9 million francs as the company was hurt by uncertainty in the automotive industry.

ECONOMY

* The Swiss jobless rate fell to 2.5% in February, from 2.6% a month earlier (Reporting by Zurich newsroom and Berlin Speed Desk)

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