Business Outlook

Investors will be hoping for some good news in the coming days, after the world's bourses went into free-fall last week. It remains to be seen whether a new set of Swiss corporate results will be enough to rally the market.

This content was published on March 23, 2001 - 15:49

Equities can generally expect a bumpy ride as traders continue to look gauge the extent of the economic slowdown in the United States. Last week, Wall Street led the world's bourses into sharply negative territory, following a severe loss of business confidence.

Tuesday sees the release of the first major corporate results in Switzerland as chocolate maker Lindt and Sprüngli reveals its final numbers for 2000. In January, the company, based near Zurich, said sales had risen 6.7 per cent last year to SFr1.537 billion ($897 million).

Also reporting on Tuesday is the company that runs Zurich's international airport, Unique Airport. Unique is reporting on its first year as a public company.

It is also due to give details of a massive extension project currently underway, as well as details of an ongoing dispute with Germany over the use of Bavarian airspace.

Other results are expected from SGS, the world's largest inspection and testing group, as well as electrical components group, SAIA Burgess. Traders are hopeful that the latter company will reveal strong profits after it posted an 18 per cent increase in sales to SFr382.7 million ($234 million) for 2000.

Thursday is another busy day for results with jam-maker, Hero, set to open the lid on its final profit numbers for 2000.

Also joining the throng will be Gretag Imaging. The photo processing group has already warned that it made a loss last year despite a 29 per cent increase in sales to SFr901 million ($524 million).

The world's second biggest cement maker, Holderbank, soon to be renamed Holcim, looks set to lay down some pleasing numbers on Thursday.

Credit Suisse First Boston has forecast sales growth of 12 per cent at SFr13.9 billion ($8.19 billion), with net profit up 11 per cent at SFr886 million. The bank says the improvement is down to recent acquisitions, currency gains and an improved cost structure.

by Tom O'Brien

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