March 16, 2020 / 5:23 AM / 14 days ago

Swiss stocks - Factors to watch on March 16

ZURICH/BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - The Swiss blue-chip SMI was seen opening 3.6% lower at 8,063 points on Monday, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer .

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

CORONAVIRUS

The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed rates back to near zero, restarted bond buying and launched other measures from its crisis-era toolkit, along with other central banks, to put the floor under a rapidly disintegrating global economy assailed by efforts to contain the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

The Swiss National Bank has joined five other central banks in a coordinated action to increase the provision of global U.S. dollar liquidity, it said.

Germany will temporarily introduce border controls on its frontiers with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark from Monday.

BANKING

Switzerland's major lenders, including Credit Suisse and UBS, are considering a 20 billion Swiss franc loan programme to help small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, Handelszeitung reported.

U.S. prosecutors are investigating Credit Suisse's role in a $2 billion Mozambique corruption case and believe they have evidence of the lender's culpability after three former bankers pleaded guilty last year, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

ROCHE

The pharmaceuticals maker announced today that its annual general meeting will take place on Tuesday despite the coronavirus spread in accordance with an exemption provided by the authorities. It recommends that shareholders use electronic remote voting and make use of the option to vote by proxy.

SWISS

Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International is taking half its fleet out of service and reducing working hours for flight personnel to help safeguard its finances during the coronavirus outbreak, it said.

Swiss International will be speaking to the Swiss government in coming days about state assistance, CEO Thomas Kluehr told newspaper SonntagsBlick. "The entire airline industry will hardly be able to survive without state assistance," he said. "Based on my assessment, nearly all airlines will need state assistance."

LONZA

The coronavirus could have a mid-term impact on Lonza's revenues, Chairman and interim CEO Albert Baehny told Finanz und Wirtschaft, but its margins are not endangered. Should one or two of its plants need to close as a result of the outbreak that could leave a "small dent" on margins this year, he added. The company's CEO search has been narrowed down to two candidates, he said, adding the group should be able to name its new CEO at the end of May, to begin at the end of 2020 or early 2021.

PARTNERS GROUP

Australia's Healius turned down a $1.3 billion takeover offer from the private equity firm, saying it undervalued the medical centre operator.

COMPANY NEWS

* COMET HOLDING AG <COTNE.S< said Franz Richter and Christoph Kutter have decided not to stand for re-election at next annual shareholder meeting

* Interroll said it will close its existing Suzhou factory in 2022 and open a new manufacturing location in the same area. A total of CNY 181 million (25 million Swiss francs) will be invested in the new and fully owned facilities.

* OC Oerlikon said it won three orders in China, where it said its long-term project business remains stable despite the short-term interruption caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

* Sonova said it suspended its share buyback program

* Hiag Holding posted a 70.7 million franc loss to to the Rohner bankruptcy and restructuring of HIAG Data

* Mikron Holding saw a significant year-on-year decline in order intake and order backlog, especially in the Mikron Machining Solutions business segment

* Flughafen Zuerich postponed its AGM due to the coronavirus epidemic, to give the company time to analyze its impact on the business

* Orell Fussli rebounded to a full year 10.9 million franc profit, from a loss of 47.2 million a year earlier.

ANALYST RATINGS

* CEMBRA MONEY BANK AG: CREDIT SUISSE CUTS TARGET PRICE TO CHF 110 FROM CHF 128

* COMPAGNIE FINANCIERE RICHEMONT SA: CITIGROUP CUTS PRICE TARGET TO CHF 64 FROM CHF 70

* ADECCO GROUP AG: JEFFERIES RAISES TO HOLD FROM UNDERPERFORM

ECONOMY

* Swiss producer prices due at 0730 GMT

* SNB sights deposits data due at 0900 GMT (Reporting by John Miller)

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