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Business Outlook

Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, comes through with its third quarter results this week. Analysts expect a strong earnings performance from the bank especially in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and investment banking.

The markets will also be focusing on how the integration of the recently acquired US investment bank, Paine Webber, is coming along. So far, it appears to be proceeding well with few defections among the top staff.

The country’s biggest telecommunications company, Swisscom, releases its third-quarter figures on Wednesday.

The telecom industry has rapidly gone out of fashion as fears grow that the earnings from the third generation of mobile phones will be far lower than expected.

Switzerland’s own UMTS sale had to be postponed earlier this month after most of the bidders dropped out of the auction.

Not long ago, analysts were forecasting a 10 per cent increase in Swisscom earnings but most have now downgraded expectations and anticipate a flat year.

There will also be keen attention on turnover figures to see how Swisscom is fending off increasingly fierce competition in the fixed line and mobile markets.

Feintool, which makes precision engineering equipment, comes through with annual results on Tuesday.

The numbers for sales and profit are expected to be around 20 per cent. The company has survived the turbulence experienced by most other hi-tech companies and its stock is trading close to historical highs.

The troubled producer of equipment used in the manufacture of CDs, 4M Technologies, will release long awaited third-quarter figures on Thursday.

The company was meant to publish numbers last week but cancelled them as it was negotiating a new financial plan.

by Michael Hollingdale

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR