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Sulzer Medica is due to release its annual results on Friday

(Keystone Archive)

The markets are eagerly awaiting the release new corporate results this week, along with two pieces of key economic data - the latest unemployment figures, and Gross Domestic Product statistics.

The Geneva-based biotechnology company, Serono, comes out with its figures on Tuesday. Analysts will be keen to see how the economic slowdown in the US has affected its results.

The company is the world's leading manufacturer of fertility drugs and is also well known for its treatments against multiple sclerosis and wasting diseases linked to AIDS.

The medical technology company, Sulzer Medica, is due to release its annual results on Friday, with analysts expecting net profit to come in at SFr194 million ($117 million).

The company, based in Winterthur, is one of the world's leading makers of medical devices, but has seen its US sales suffer lately following the recall of 25,000 faulty artificial hip implants. It said last Friday that it would be fighting a class action lawsuit launched in Boston by 20 patients affected by the faulty implants.

Sulzer also releases its figures on Friday. The technology company, listed separately from Sulzer Medica, is expected to post net profits of around SFr250 million.

The company is undergoing a major reorganisation as it transforms itself from an old-style industrial conglomerate into a high-technology focused group.

ESEC, the world's leading producer of semi-conductor manufacturing equipment, releases its numbers on Thursday. The industry has been one of the main victims of the US slowdown and the collapse of new economy firms, and its results will be closely studied.

Swiss Prime Site, the real estate group that announced a merger with Feldchlösschen-Hürlimann last week, comes through with results on Tuesday.

Economists will be looking to the end of the week for the release of key data. Thursday sees the publication of fourth quarter GDP, which is certain to show a slowdown on the third quarter rate of 3.6 per cent.

Economists are mixed on how fast the economy is coming down from the dizzy heights set last year, and forecasts for fourth quarter GDP range from 2.2 to 3.4 per cent.

On Friday, the latest unemployment figures are due to be released. The jobless rate is expected to remain virtually unchanged at around two per cent.

by Michael Hollingdale

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