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Business outlook

It looks set to be a quiet week on the corporate front and markets in Switzerland as the business world starts to wind down for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Trading volume will be thin on the SMI and the index is likely to remain in a narrow trading range between 7900 and 8100.

There were some hopes that the SMI might stage a final year-end push after the United States presidential election was finally settled but a clutch of profit warnings from blue chip companies has put paid to any such prospect.

However, analysts remain broadly optimistic that the index will push forward in the New Year.

Trading on currencies will also be thin, although there could be some strengthening of the dollar against currencies such as the Swiss franc following George W Bush's election victory.

In corporate news, analysts expect the technology company, ESEC, to post strong profit figures when it releases its interim results this week.

The huge employment agency, Adecco, holds an analysts' presentation on Tuesday. The company, which has strong interests in the US, has benefited from the recent economic recovery and will be telling analysts of its plans for the New Year.

The latest industrial production figures will be released on Thursday with most people expecting a further slowdown confirming Switzerland's economic deceleration.

The markets close on Friday for the Christmas period.

by Michael Hollingdale

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